11/05/2013 4:54PM

Larry Barrera, former trainer, dies at 54


A graveside burial service will be held for Larry Barrera, son of the late Hall of Fame trainer Lazaro Barrera and an accomplished trainer in his own right, at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Live Oak Memorial Park in Monrovia, Calif. Barrera died at home in Carlsbad, Calif., on Oct. 27. It was his 54th birthday.

Named for his father, Larry Barrera first came into the public’s eye as Laz Barrera’s stable assistant during the successful Triple Crown campaign of Affirmed in 1978. The younger Barrera, 19 at the time, traveled with Affirmed to Kentucky, Maryland, and New York while his father commuted back and forth between the divisions of his powerful, bi-coastal stable.

Not long after Affirmed retired, Larry Barrera took out his own trainer’s license. He sent out Rich Cream to set a world record for seven furlongs at Hollywood Park while winning the 1980 the Triple Bend Handicap and won the Milady Handicap that same season with Image of Reality.

Barrera’s training career was cut short, however, by a struggle with substance abuse that lasted the rest of his life.

"You have no idea how many times I should have been gone," Barrera said in a 2003 interview. "No one ever has to live the way I lived for so many years. I lived the same day every day. Get the drugs, do the drugs. It was a nightmare, and I thank God every day that it's over. But I had to change, or I was going to die."

Barrera experienced a brief renaissance in 2003, training a small stable of horses owned by Aaron and Marie Jones, former patrons of his father, but the comeback did not last. More recently, he had been making contacts as a bloodstock agent for South American interests.

“According to the coroner, it was the years and years of physical neglect related to his substance abuse,” said Mickey Uriza, Barrera’s nephew. “It arrived and presented him the bill.

“But he was trying to get himself back into the racing groove the last few months, sorting through catalogs,” Uriza added. “He was a walking Google when it came to pedigrees.”

Barrera is survived by his older brother, Albert, and his sister, Blanca Barrera Uriza. His father died in 1991, and his mother, Carmen Barrera, died in 2012.



Jim Chio More than 1 year ago
great friend great guy one of the best people i've ever know. kind and generous.
Julie Vol More than 1 year ago
I'm so sorry to hear of Larry's passing. We dated for a bit back in the early 80's when I hauled race horses for his father. Larry had a good heart. Rest in peace Lar.
Jim Chio More than 1 year ago
were you Melinda Kuhn's roommate in New Jersey?
Lafe Bassett More than 1 year ago
Just received word from the people who took Timber Cruiser, he is still alive and kickin. He has had a problem or two but is doing great. He has hundreds of acres to roam with friends! God Bless You, Larry!
Lafe Bassett More than 1 year ago
I met Larry Barrera when I was the gap clocker at Santa Anita during the 70's. What many forget, is that Laz had won the Derby and Belmont the year before Affirmed with Bold Forbes, finishing 3rd in the Preakness! Larry went through it all at a very early age. It was endearing to watch father and son converse in spanish, which I do not speak, and you could literally see the love and respect they had for one another. I migrated north to the bay area where I finished my career as a clocker. I followed Larry via the DRF and watched his career as he began trained horses for Mr and Mrs. Jones,especially the St Ballado colt named Timber Cruiser, who broke his maiden going 1 3/8's on the turf. He came back next time to finish 3rd or 4th in the San Juan Capistrano both times ridden by Matt Garcia. I purused the form daily and the next thing mentioned about him was that he was now Matt Garcia's agent. Then nothing! I called him once and he said he was working as an ex-ray technician, and that his wife was from Santa Rosa, here in northern California, and we'd have to get together, which never transpired. A couple of years ago, before my retirement, I looked at the entries for horses running at Stockton, a rather desolate meeting. There was a name that caught my eye, sprinting, on the dirt, at a rock bottom price, after being off for years. Timber Cruiser. He went to the front for 3/8's and backed out, but did not hurt himself. The outfit that ran him had horses at Golden Gate fields, and I watched him as he came onto our track one morning, not pretty. He trained for a week or so, and came up sore. Next thing I observe is that this outfit began to try to make a pony out of him unsuccessfully. I went down to the barn he was housed in and told them if they ever wanted to find him a home, let me know. Shortly after I placed him on an estate in Livermore, California, where he is to this day, best of my knowledge. Barrera, Jones, 1/3/8's on the turf, then the San Juan Capistrano at 1 3/4's on the turf, it's all old school.
Robert More than 1 year ago
Such a great story! Larry told me the story of Timber Cruiser several times. One time through a story was never enough, and somehow the story got better every time he told it. I know he is looking down from above at his old horse, and is grateful for the kindness you showed.
April Doornbos More than 1 year ago
Larry lived off of every body elses laurels and wouldn't get out of bed unless it was to take a picture in the winners circle and i ought to know 
Torrie Ann Needham More than 1 year ago
God has a better plan for Larry. I miss my many years with the Barrera stable.Both Laz and Larry were very sweet men, and I'm so sorry I was unable to have one last visit with Larry this past Del Mar meet before his untimely passing. RIP my Dear Friend.
Jon King More than 1 year ago
R.I.P. old friend. You`ll never be forgotten...
Forrest Wells More than 1 year ago
I loved Loved Larry very much, sleep well old friend. Frosty Wells
April Doornbos More than 1 year ago
Rich Creme doe not hold the world record title alone he is tied for the time , contact the Hall of Fame to confirm like I did , he is also survive by a soul child Christina Barrera who lives in Florida
Anthony T- Bone Stabile More than 1 year ago
Rest in peace Lazarito ! You were a good friend, and trainer.
Holly Piper Sdoucos More than 1 year ago
Just to set the record straight, Larry Barrera is also survived by a daughter "Kristina". A beautiful, kind and thoughtful young lady.