Updated on 09/18/2011 12:09AM

Barbaro and J'ray popular winners at Calder


MIAMI, Fla. - Barbaro and J'Ray, two of the many promising 3-year-olds who'll winter in south Florida this season, got the new year off to a rousing start on Sunday when registering popular victories in Calder's $100,000 .

Barbaro rallied from just off the pace under Edgar Prado to register an easy 3.75 length victory over Wise River in the Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby. The win was the third in as many starts for the son of Dynaformer who closed out his 2-year-old campaign with an even more one sided decision in the Laurel Futurity.

Barbaro settled just behind Mr.Silver who set out moderate fractions over the very firm turf course, . engaged the leader in early stretch and readily drew clear. Wise River rallied near the inside to best Michael Lewis by three parts of a length to finish second with Mr. Silver finishing a tiring fourth.

Barbaro covered a mile and one eighth in 1:46.65 seconds and paid $2.80. He is trained by Michael Matz for the Lael Stable of owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson.

"He is still a bit green," said Matz. "Edgar told me he was looking around for the other horses down the backstretch. The decision now is whether we try him on the dirt or keep on the turf. He's a very talented horse with a lot of class. The question is whether he'll be as good on the dirt as he is on the turf. Whatever direction we do ultimately take with him we shouldn't go wrong."

J'ray also remained perfect on the turf after wearing down pace setter Stolen Prayer to post a one length decision under jockey John Velazquez in the Tropical Park Oaks. The win was the fourth in as many starts since trainer Todd Pletcher switched the New York bred J'ray to grass following a sixth place finish in her career debut on dirt this summer at Belmont Park.

Like Barbaro, J'ray was a prohibitive favorite and paid just $3.00 for her fourth straight win. Her final time of 1:40.88 was the second fastest in the 19 year history of the Oaks. J'ray is owned by Lawrence Goichman and was ridden by John Velazquez.

"She got a perfect trip trip," said Pletcher. "The way the turf has been playing here lately we didn't want her too far back and fortunately she's the kind of filly you can put anywhere. I'll probably give her a little break because the turf schedule for 3-year-old fillies is a bad one during the first six weeks of the Gulfstream meeting."