04/24/2010 12:00AM

Barry stays calm under pressure

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Barbara D. Livingston
Patti Barry cleans her tack after working Devil May Care Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - One week ago, Patti Barry worked Kentucky Derby favorite Eskendereya for trainer Todd Pletcher at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida. On Saturday, Barry was at Churchill Downs, where she guided Pletcher's top 3-year-old filly Devil May Care through arguably the morning's most impressive workout.

Being entrusted with such valuable, young horses during morning workouts is nothing new for Barry, whose husband, Tristan, is one of Pletcher's top assistants based in Florida during the winter and New York in the summer.

"I've been on quite a few Derby and Oaks horses for Todd over the years," said Barry, who was also the regular work rider for such notable Pletcher horses as Harlan's Holiday and Monba, as well as top 3-year-olds such as A P Valentine and Albert the Great when she galloped for trainer Nick Zito earlier in her career. "Obviously there's a little more pressure when you ride the best horses like that but I've been doing this for a long time now, almost 20 years, so it's really not that big of a deal."

Barry said she couldn't have been more impressed with the way Devil May Care worked and handled the wet track on Saturday.

"She seems much more focused now that she's got blinkers," said Barry. "She did it so easily this morning. It was almost like an open gallop."

Barry was also impressed with the way Eskendereya went in his final south Florida drill the previous weekend.

"It was just like the filly today, he went so easily," said Barry. "All you have to do is just sit there and they take you for the ride."