05/28/2004 11:00PM

Twice as Bad takes Laz Barrera

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A three-length win by Twice as Bad in Saturday's $150,000 gave owner Ernie Moody and trainer Vladimir Cerin an opportunity to remember how ill the colt was when he arrived in California in January.

"He wasn't much to look at in the first few weeks,' Moody said.

"He seems to have recovered," Cerin said.

Making his first start since December, Twice as Bad ($6.20) scored his first stakes win in the Grade 2 Barrera, finishing seven furlongs in 1:21.57. Wimplestiltskin, who led early, held second, finishing 2 1-2 lengths in front of Don'tsellmeshort in the field of eight 3-year-olds.

Twice as Bad was third early, moved into contention in early stretch and was not challenged in the final quarter-mile.

The race lost top contenders Hosco and Siphonizer early Saturday. Both were scratched because of illness.

Alex Solis was booked to ride Siphonizer, and picked up the mount on Twice as Bad when jockey Corey Nakatani took off his final two mounts after complaining of back spasms caused by an incident in the starting gate earlier in the day.

Twice as Bad has won 3 of 13 starts and $196,280. Last fall at Calder, he placed in two stakes.

The win gave Moody victories with 3-year-olds on consecutive Saturdays. On May 22, Laura's Lucky Boy won the Will Rogers Stakes. This Saturday, Rock Hard Ten will try to beat Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes in New York.

"I like that pattern," Moody said.