10/09/2008 12:00AM

Porter hires trainer to replace retiring Jones


Fox Hill Farm owner Rick Porter has announced that Jeff Barkley, a former assistant to trainer Larry Jones, will become private trainer for the stable, with the exception of about a dozen 2-year-olds and several more accomplished horses that Jones will take next month to the Fair Grounds meet in New Orleans.

Barkley, 47, said Thursday from western Kentucky that he worked for Jones from 2003-05 while also maintaining his own small public stable. Since 1994, Barkley's solo record is 73 wins from 558 starters for earnings of $1.6 million.

Porter said on his website, rockportharbor.com, that Barkley "care takes almost exactly as Larry Jones does. He has learned Larry's ways of doing things and believes in his methods 100 percent." He described the hiring of Barkley as a "great way to transition Larry's leaving."

Jones announced last month that he intends to retire in about a year. As the primary trainer for Fox Hill, Jones has trained such top runners as Hard Spun and the ill-fated Eight Belles, the respective second-place finishers in the Kentucky Derby in 2007 and 2008.

Porter said Kodiak Kowboy, Solar Flare, and Honest Man will be among the horses that Jones takes to Fair Grounds.

Barkley said he initially will have "about 15" horses for Fox Hill at the Fair Hill training center in northeastern Maryland, from where he will primarily race in several eastern states on a year-round basis. Porter said on the website that Barkley will train the Fox Hill 2-year-olds of 2009.