Bob Baffert Profile
|Born||Jan 13, 1953|
American Pharoah and Justify have been two of the greatest horses of the last 10 years, with both having been trained by the legendary Bob Baffert. Here, we take a look at his history.
Anyone who is even a little bit familiar with horse racing has probably heard the name Bob Baffert.
The Hall of Fame trainer is considered one of the greatest in the sport's history, having been responsible for names like Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify. In nearly all of the top horse racing events, you will see Baffert's name listed in the entries and winners.
He has more than 3,000 wins, 2,000 second-places and 1,800 thirds from over 13,500 total starts. His career earnings sit above $320million, aided significantly by winning the 2021 Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit.
Baffert was born and grew up on a ranch in Nogales, Arizona, where his family raised livestock. He had an affinity with horses early on, with his father purchasing Quarter Horses to practice racing on a dirt track when Baffert was 10 years old.
During his teenage years, Baffert worked as a jockey making $100 a day. He was participating in informal Quarter Horse races that took place outside of Nogales. At the age of 17, he had transitioned to legalized tracks, taking his first win in 1970.
He graduated from the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program and Baffert became one of the top trainers in Quarter Horse racing, being responsible for four champions. He transitioned to Thoroughbred racing in the late 1980s.
His final step into that new world came in 1991 when Baffert gave up his Quarter Horse division. It then only took a few years for him to become one of the best trainers in Thoroughbred racing.
Triple Crown campaigns
Baffert has had an extensive and successful career, but his most monumental moments have come within the last 10 years. Perhaps his most significant accomplishment came in 2015 when he became the first trainer in 37 years to condition a Triple Crown winner.
His American Pharoah scored that year's Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
Baffert has enjoyed 16 victories in Triple Crown races - six Kentucky Derbys, seven Preakness Stakes and three Belmont Stakes. Before American Pharoah, Baffert's other runners who had a shot at the Triple Crown included Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998 and War Emblem in 2002.
Baffert proved why he is the best in the industry once again in 2018 when Justify swept the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
Justify provided Baffert with his fifth Derby win after overcoming the slop, and the runner became the first three-year-old to take the Derby without running as a two-year-old since Apollo in 1882.
Justify encountered another sloppy track two weeks later in the Preakness, where he battled to overcome champion Good Magic. The highly anticipated final leg of the Triple Crown ran three weeks later and Justify scored the Belmont to become the first-ever Triple Crown champion who didn't race at age two.
The trainer's career had been leading up to those successes in 2015 and 2018. Back in 2012, he had finished second in the three Triple Crown races with Bodemeister (Kentucky Derby and Preakness) and Paynter (Belmont Stakes).
In 2014, Baffert was responsible for training Bayern, who went on to take the Breeders' Cup Classic and become a Horse of the Year finalist.
Baffert could not repeat his 2018 feat in 2019 as his three runners failed to win the Kentucky Derby. Improbable took fourth, Game Winner fifth and Roadster fell off way at the back.
Going into 2020, things looked good for Baffert once again as he had Authentic, Thousand Words, Nadal and Charlatan in his stable. All four of these impressive runners had scored Kentucky Derby prep races, securing spots in the big race.
The 2020 edition of the Derby was delayed by four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a significant impact on the entire sport. It affected Baffert too as only two of the four, Thousand Words and Authentic, were entered into the Derby.
Just moments before the 146th edition of the Kentucky Derby, Thousand Words was scratched following an incident in the paddock. This meant Baffert only had Authentic, who was breaking from the outside post.
Authentic took the lead heading into the far turn under jockey John Velazquez and he was able to fend off Tiz the Law, one of the top names of 2020 with wins in the Belmont Stakes and Runhappy Travers Stakes already under his belt.
With Authentic's victory, Baffert got his sixth Derby win, tying with trainer Ben Jones for the most ever Derby victories.
He surpassed this record in 2021, by guiding 12/1 shot Medina Spirit, giving him his seventh Derby win. Medina Spirit then went on to finish third in the 2021 Preakness Stakes, being denied a shot at the Triple Crown by Rombauer and Midnight Bourbon.
However, a week after the Derby, Medina Spirit tested positive for illegal levels of the anti-inflammatory betamethasone and this was later confirmed by a second sample. It is uncertain as to whether the horse will be stripped of his Kentucky Derby title. Meanwhile, Baffert has been banned from entering horses at Churchill Downs for two years in addition to having an indefinite suspension imposed upon him regarding entering horses at New York racetracks.
Other big series
Baffert attends most of the major horse racing events, not just the Triple Crown ones, and some of his other significant victories have come in the Breeders' Cup series.
In 2016, he took his 13th Breeders' Cup win with Drefong, a Charles Chu-owned racehorse who won the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Baffert then won his third straight Breeders' Cup Classic when Arrogate beat California Chrome in the $6million event.
This gave Baffert 14 career Breeders' Cup wins, making him second only to D. Wayne Lukas with 20.
The Baffert-trained Arrogate kept impressing in 2017 when he scored the $12million Pegasus World Cup.
That campaign also saw him win the $10million Dubai World Cup and become the highest-earning North American Thoroughbred of all time, bringing in over $17million in earnings. In that same year, Baffert took the Kentucky Oaks with Abel Tasman.
2018 saw Baffert win another Breeders' Cup Juvenile with Game Winner, putting his total Breeders' Cup tally at 15. Game Winner ran for Baffert again in 2019, earning two second-place finishes that qualified him for the Kentucky Derby that year.
In the 2020 edition of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Baffert scored the Filly and Mare Sprint with Gamine. He also took his fourth Longines Classic with Authentic, the Kentucky Derby winner.
With that being his most recent victory, Baffert's Breeders' Cup tally stands at 17, with a good possibility of him breaking Lukas' record before long.
Bob Baffert News
- Mar 27, 2022
- Mar 22, 2022
- Dec 07, 2021