NEW YORK — Alexis Barba will try to become the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race at today's Belmont Stakes.
Shelly Riley came closest when Casual Lies ran second in the 1992 Kentucky Derby.
Barba, an Oakland native, gets a second chance this year with Make Music for Me (10-to-1 odds to win) in the 1½-mile Belmont.
The colt was an afterthought at the 11/4-mile Kentucky Derby, a runner who slipped in at the last moment when a more accomplished horse withdrew only hours before entries closed.
The winner of only one of nine races showed he belonged. The early trailer in the 20-horse field at 30-1 odds, Make Music for Me swung eight wide under jockey Joel Rosario and closed determinedly to finish fourth.
Barba opted to skip the Preakness and point the colt toward the Belmont.
Eight women have saddled Belmont runners. Linda Rice was the most recent, getting fifth with Supervisor in 2003.
Barba doesn't tire of people asking about her quest to break the Triple Crown gender barrier.
"I suppose it's a legitimate question, but anybody who wins any Triple Crown race — who's going to be happier? It's unexplainable. So it's fun, it would definitely be historical," she said.
Notes: Three jockeys will be riding at Belmont Park for the first time — former Pleasanton resident Martin Garcia on the Bob Baffert-trained Game on Dude, Jamie Theriot on Stay
Wire services contributed to this story.