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Lazaro S. Barrera

Lazaro S. Barrera
Induction Year: 
May 8, 1924, Havana, Cuba
April 25, 1991
Career Years: 
Number of Starters: 
Number of Winners: 
Winning Percentage: 

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A native of Havana, Cuba, Lazaro Barrera became the first person to win the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer four consecutive years (1976 through 1979) and trained America’s 11th Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, as well as Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Bold Forbes.


The leading North American trainer by earnings each year from 1977 through 1980, Barrera was born May 8, 1924 and was one of nine brothers who went on to a career in thoroughbred racing. Barrera began working at a track in Cuba in his youth and quickly became one of his country’s most respected horsemen.


Seeking a larger and more lucrative market, Barrera moved to Mexico in the 1940s and enjoyed success at Hipodromo de las Americas in Mexico City. There, Barrera met California-based trainer Hal King, who later convinced him to train in the United States.


Barrera became one of North America’s most successful trainers in the 1970s. His first major victory in the United States came with Tinajero in the 1971 Jerome Handicap. In 1975, he began training Bold Forbes. The following year, Bold Forbes set a record in the Wood Memorial before going on to win the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes en route to the Eclipse Award for Champion 3-Year-Old Male.


Following his success with Bold Forbes, Barrera became the head trainer for Louis and Patrice Wolfson’s Harbor View Farm and began training Affirmed. In 1977, Affirmed won the Youthful Stakes, Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes, Sanford Stakes, Hopeful Stakes, Futurity Stakes and Laurel Futurity and was voted the Eclipse Award for Champion 2-Year-Old Colt.


In 1978, Affirmed became America’s 11th Triple Crown winner. In addition to his victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, Affirmed added wins in the San Felipe Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, Hollywood Derby, Jim Dandy Stakes and Strub Stakes. Affirmed was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male.


Returning as a 4-year-old in 1979, Affirmed was again named Horse of the Year and also Champion Older Male when he won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita Handicap, Californian Stakes, Hollywood Gold Cup, Woodward Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup. Overall Affirmed posted a record of 22-5-1 from 29 starts and earned $2,887,999, breaking Kelso’s all-time record. He won a total of 14 Grade 1 races. 


Barrera continued to thrive through the 1980s. Along with Affirmed and Bold Forbes, Barrera trained champions J. O. Tobin, It's In The Air, Lemhi Gold and Tiffany Lass. Overall, Barrera trained more than 140 stakes winners, including Mister Frisky, a champion in Puerto Rico. Mister Frisky was the final graded stakes winner for Barrera in 1990 when he won the San Rafael Stakes and Santa Anita Derby.


Based on available records, Barrera won 2,269 races and $49,932,176 in North America. He died April 25, 1991 at the age of 66.