05/28/2012 4:05PM

Finger Lakes: Baker remains main man in Barker, thanks to longshot Al's Deputy

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Stepahnie Van Minos/Tom Cooley Photography
Al's Deputy, ridden by Jaime Rodriguez pays $43.40 for upsetting the George W. Barker.

Given that Al’s Deputy hadn’t finished better than fourth in his last five starts dating back to October, it was no surprise that he was a 20-1 outsider in Monday’s first stakes of the season at Finger Lakes. Considering how trainer Charlton Baker has dominated the George W. Barker Stakes, however, 20-1 was a huge price on Al’s Deputy.

A 6-year-old gelding beaten more than 27 combined lengths in his three most recent starts and idle since March, Al’s Deputy closed strongly in the stretch to upset the $50,000 Barker, a six-furlong sprint for New York-breds.

Ridden by Jaime Rodriguez, Al’s Deputy ($43.40) blew past 6-5 favorite Haya’s Boy and pacesetter Pro’s Pal in deep stretch to give Baker his sixth win in the last eight runnings of the Barker. In winning for the first time since Sept. 23 – his last appearance at Finger Lakes – Al’s Deputy ran the distance in 1:10.17.

Haya’s Boy, bidding for his third win since he was claimed for $7,500 in January, had to settle for second, two lengths behind the winner and 1 3/4 lengths in front of Pro’s Pal.

Baker won the Barker five straight years, starting with back-to-back wins by Top Shoter in 2004 and 2005, followed by three consecutive victories by Johnie Bye Night.

Owned and bred by Albert Fried Jr., Al’s Deputy is now 6 for 23 lifetime. Four of his six wins have come at Finger Lakes.