By Mint Julep

Laz Barrera Trainer: Two Kentucky Derby Winners

bold forbes kentucky derby winner 1976

Key Takeaways

  • Laz Barrera started his impressive career in horse racing when he was young in Cuba and went on to train two Kentucky Derby champions.
  • He showed his training skills by working with Bold Forbes and Affirmed, both of whom had great success under his guidance.
  • Barrera left a lasting legacy through winning multiple Eclipse Awards, being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and having the Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes named after him to honor his significant impact on thoroughbred racing.

Early Life and Racing Career of Laz Barrera

Laz Barrera’s amazing journey into the world of thoroughbred horse racing is truly extraordinary. Originally from Havana, Cuba, he began his successful career alongside his eight brothers before expanding to Mexico and then making his way to the United States. His deep love for these magnificent animals ignited at a young age and guided him through every challenge on his path to greatness.

In 1971, Barrera made history by training his first winner in an American Stakes race. This victory was just the beginning of a remarkable series of successes that would establish him as a legendary figure in the sport. With each step taken by one of his horses under the bright lights of the racetrack, Laz Barrera proved himself as a skilled trainer with an innate ability to nurture champions from raw talent.

The racetracks showcased Laz Barrera’s exceptional skills as he refined them over decades spent developing strategies that led some of the best equine athletes toward glory. Starting from modest beginnings in Cuba and going on to celebrate victories at prestigious events like the Kentucky Derby twice – with Affirmed in 1978 and Bold Forbes in 1976 – Lazaro Sosa Barrera created a legacy few could match. His commitment, expertise, and pure passion for these incredible creatures elevated him beyond ordinary trainers; he was a master orchestrating performances on turf that resonated across generations eager to witness excellence at its peak.

Training Bold Forbes and Kentucky Derby Victory

Laz Barrera’s training of Bold Forbes showcased a perfect blend of skill and intuition. Their success went beyond just winning races; it was about building an unbreakable bond between the horse and its trainer, one that extended far beyond the racecourse. The journey to their Kentucky Derby win was not merely a victory but a beautiful symphony of hard work, dedication, and unwavering belief in each other.

Barrera paid meticulous attention to every detail in Bold Forbes’ training routine. From early morning until nightfall, he tirelessly worked to ensure his prized colt was always at peak performance for each race. It wasn’t just about physical strength but also mental toughness – Barrera instilled confidence in Bold Forbes that reverberated through every thunderous gallop on the track.

Their triumph at the Wood Memorial Stakes foreshadowed their crowning achievement at Churchill Downs. Here, Barrera’s strategic brilliance shone brightly as he guided Bold Forbes with finesse and tactics that left rival horses lagging behind like distant memories. As they crossed the finish line at the Kentucky Derby, pride glistened in Barrera’s eyes – not only for himself but also for his equine companion who had poured his heart out under his guidance.

The cheers from spectators resonated across Churchill Downs as Laz Barrera stood proudly next to Bold Forbes, reveling in their shared glory. The victory at the Kentucky Derby wasn’t just another win on their list; it engraved their names into racing history forevermore. Together they conquered one of thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious races with unmatched grace and composure.

Looking back now, Laz Barrera’s training of Bold Forbes didn’t just lead to victories on paper but also planted seeds of inspiration within future generations in the racing community – demonstrating that true greatness knows no boundaries when passion aligns with purpose on hallowed racetracks grounds

The Pros & Cons of Legendary Horse Training


  1. I know a lot about training horses and have been doing it for a long time.

  2. I can make good connections with horses to help them perform their best.

  3. I've had many Kentucky Derby winners as my successes.

  4. People see me as very dedicated, passionate, and committed to horse racing.


  1. Limited availability may result from a high demand for services

  2. Not all horses may be suitable for intense training methods

  3. Burnout can occur due to the demanding nature of the profession

  4. It can be stressful to maintain a consistent level of success

Affirmed and U.S. Triple Crown Triumph

Laz Barrera had an amazing career in horse racing when he became the head trainer for Harbor View Farm and started working with a talented colt named Affirmed. The combination of Barrera’s skills and Affirmed’s exceptional talent set the racetrack on fire like never before. Winning two consecutive Eclipse Awards for Horse of the Year, this powerful team was destined for greatness.

In 1978, they made history by winning the U.S. Triple Crown – a rare achievement that only a few horses have accomplished. Their bond went beyond just trainer-horse relationship; it was an unbreakable connection built through hard work, dedication, and belief in each other.

With high expectations weighing on them as they tackled the challenging Triple Crown races at Churchill Downs, Pimlico, and Belmont Park; Barrera’s guidance and Affirmed’s determination helped them overcome every hurdle.

As they raced down those legendary tracks leaving their competitors behind amazed spectators couldn’t help but be awed by their incredible display of skill, tenacity, and heart. It wasn’t just about winning races; it was about demonstrating unmatched abilities that left lasting impressions on everyone who saw it happen.

Barrera secured his legacy as one of horse racing’s best trainers not only because of his success with Affirmed but also due to his deep love for the sport itself. His talent to train champions went beyond teaching techniques; it involved instilling values such as perseverance,integrity,and sportsmanship into both equine athletesand human counterparts making sure his influence would continue long after crossing finish lines or lifting trophies above heads.”

Eclipse Awards and Hall of Fame Induction

Laz Barrera was an amazing horse trainer who won lots of awards, including four Eclipse Awards in a row from 1976 to 1979. These special awards showed how dedicated he was and how successful he became in the world of horse racing. He knew just what to do to make his horses perform their best, making him stand out as a top-notch trainer whose name meant excellence on the racetrack.

Getting into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1979 was like winning the biggest prize for Laz Barrera. It proved that he belonged among the greatest legends in thoroughbred racing history. This honor not only celebrated his incredible achievements but also showed how much he influenced the sport itself. Barrera’s new ideas and unmatched skills made a lasting impression that still inspires new trainers and excites fans all over the world.

Barrera’s legacy isn’t just about numbers; it carries a spirit that has touched generations of people who love horse racing. His entry into the Hall of Fame shines brightly as a symbol of excellence, guiding future trainers to follow his impressive example with confidence. Laz Barrera’s impact has added richness to horse racing history, forever marking his name alongside other greats who have left their mark on this beloved sport.

Legendary Trainer: Laz Barrera's Racing Legacy

Laz Barrera
Occupation Trainer
Born May 8, 1924
Havana, Cuba
Died April 25, 1991
Career wins 2,268
Major racing wins Jerome Handicap (1971)
Roamer Handicap (1971, 1974)
Acorn Stakes (1973)
Mother Goose Stakes (1973)
Prioress Stakes (1973)
Vosburgh Stakes (1973, 1977)
Excelsior Handicap (1974)
Fall Highweight Handicap (1974)
La Brea Stakes (1975, 1976)
Hempstead Handicap (1975)
Paumonok Handicap (1975)
Saratoga Special Stakes (1975)
Tremont Stakes (1975)
Carter Handicap (1976)
Wood Memorial Stakes (1976)
Whitney Handicap (1976, 1983)
Belmont Futurity Stakes (1977, 1984)
Haskell Invitational Handicap (1977)
Hopeful Stakes (1977)
Jamaica Handicap (1977)
Laurel Futurity (1977)
Sanford Stakes (1977, 1986)
Strub Stakes (1977, 1979, 1982)
Comely Stakes (1978)
Hawthorne Handicap (1978, 1984, 1985)
Hollywood Derby (1978)
Jim Dandy Stakes (1978)
Ladies Handicap (1978)
Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup Handicap (1978)
Santa Anita Derby (1978, 1990)
Hollywood Gold Cup (1979, 1983)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1979, 1982)
Santa Anita Handicap (1979)
Woodward Stakes (1979)
Alabama Stakes (1979)
Monmouth Oaks (1981)
Pennsylvania Derby (1981)
Frank E. Kilroe Mile (1981, 1984)
Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (1982)
Delaware Handicap (1984)
Santa Margarita Handicap (1984)
Santa Maria Handicap (1984, 1985)
Kentucky Oaks (1986, 1987)
American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1976, 1978)
Preakness Stakes (1978)
Belmont Stakes (1976, 1978)
United States Triple Crown (1978)
Racing awards Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979)
U.S. Champion Trainer by earnings (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980)
Big Sport of Turfdom Award (1979)
Honours National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (1979)
Lazaro Barrera Stakes at Santa Anita Park (1991)
Significant horses Bold Forbes, Affirmed, J.O. Tobin
It’s In The Air, Mister Frisky
Lemhi Gold, Tiffany Lass Aljamin

Legacy and Memorial Race

Laz Barrera left a lasting impact on horse racing that still resonates today through the champions he once trained. Over his impressive career of nearly five decades, he nurtured six top horses and led more than 140 American Stakes race winners to victory. His expertise and dedication continue to influence the sport, leaving a strong mark on fans and competitors for generations.

After Laz Barrera passed away in 1991, the equestrian community wanted to honor his significant contributions. Thus, they created the Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes at Hollywood Park Racetrack as a heartfelt tribute to his unmatched accomplishments. This yearly event is not just a race; it serves as a poignant reminder of one man’s passion for fostering greatness on the track.

The Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes is more than just another day at the races; it represents respect for an exceptional trainer whose name stands alongside legends in history. As horses sprint down that revered stretch where victories are etched into eternity, spectators can almost sense Barrera’s spirit spurring them forward with each stride toward glory. It goes beyond mere competition—it embodies enduring admiration for excellence embodied by an extraordinary individual.

During each thunderous hoofbeat around that legendary track at the Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes, echoes of past triumphs resonate—each triumphant lap reminiscent of moments when champions groomed by Laz himself crossed finish lines first across prestigious races nationwide. The palpable energy in the air speaks volumes about how one person’s dedication can shape an entire industry—his influence extending far beyond any individual awards or trophies amassed over time.

As participants gather under California skies for another edition of the Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes, they do so out of deep admiration for someone who forever changed horse racing with their brilliance and unwavering determination to push boundaries further—a true master whose legacy lives on through every spirited gallop towards destiny on that renowned racetrack bearing his name.


1. How did Laz Barrera's training methods differ from other trainers during his era?

During his time, Laz Barrera was known for his thorough training methods that focused on small details, creative techniques, and a strong commitment to developing the talent of every horse he worked with. This made him stand out as an expert in the field of thoroughbred racing.

2. What were the names of the two Kentucky Derby champions Laz Barrera trained, and what made them stand out?

Laz Barrera coached two horses that won the Kentucky Derby – Bold Forbes and Affirmed. They were incredibly talented and determined, making them legends in horse racing history under his leadership.

3. Can you elaborate on Laz Barrera's journey to becoming a Hall of Fame trainer in the world of horse racing?

Laz Barrera had an incredible journey to becoming a Hall of Fame trainer in the world of horse racing. He achieved unparalleled success, training two Kentucky Derby champions and winning multiple Eclipse Awards. His legacy continues to inspire admiration and respect in the realm of thoroughbred racing.

4. How did Laz Barrera's training philosophy contribute to his remarkable success in the sport?

Laz Barrera achieved remarkable success in horse racing due to his careful focus on details, unwavering commitment to the well-being of his horses, and exceptional skill in bringing out the best in each thoroughbred he trained.

5. What were some of the key races or moments that defined Laz Barrera's illustrious career as a trainer?

Laz Barrera had an amazing career as a horse trainer, marked by his impressive wins in the Kentucky Derby with Bold Forbes in 1976 and Affirmed in 1978. He also won multiple Eclipse Awards and was honored with induction into the Racing Hall of Fame for his accomplishments.

6. How did Laz Barrera's influence extend beyond his Kentucky Derby victories, shaping the landscape of thoroughbred racing for years to come?

Laz Barrera didn't just win the Kentucky Derby – he changed horse racing forever with his exceptional training abilities, multiple Eclipse Awards, and Hall of Fame induction. His impact on the sport was lasting and unforgettable.