Bob Baffert 3-time Derby Winning Trainer
Thursday, March 27, 2008, Noon Eastern
Part 2: Sunday, March 30, 2 p.m. Eastern
Born in Nogales, Ariz., on Jan. 13, 1953, Bob Baffert is widely recognized as one of the most successful trainers in the history of horseracing. After rising to the top in the Quarter Horse game, Baffert decided to become a full time Thoroughbred trainer in the early 1970s. Owners Mike Pegram and Hal Earnardt, who are still with him, were responsible for bringing Baffert into the Thoroughbred game. Besides Pegram and Earnhardt, Baffert also has trained for Robert and Janice McNair (Stonerside Stable), Ahmed Zayat (Zayat Stables), the late Bob Lewis and his wife, Beverly; the late Prince Ahmed bin Salman (The Thoroughbred Corp.) and the late John Mabee and his wife, Betty (Golden Eagle Farm).
The Lewis' Silver Charm, who they purchase for $85,000, gave Baffert his first two Classic wins when he took the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Silver Charm went on to earn $6,944,369, including a victory in the 1998 Dubai World Cup, before being retired to stud. The following year, Pegram's Real Quiet won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before losing the Belmont Stakes by a scant nose. Real Quiet was purchased for an even smaller sum, $17,000, than Silver Charm. That made Baffert the first person in the history of Thoroughbred racing to train Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners in back-to-back years. Captain Steve, third in the 2000 Derby and also owned by Pegram, won the Dubai World Cup in 2001 and earned $6,828,356 during his racing career.
In 2001, Bob Baffert again won two-thirds of the Triple Crown, this time with Point Given, who won the Preakness and Belmont. That year he became the first Thoroughbred in history to win four straight races worth $1 million or more (the Preakness, Belmont, Haskell Invitational Handicap and Travers). Point Given also was victorious in the San Felipe Stakes and Santa Anita Derby as a 3-year-old. Baffert won his third Derby/Preakness combination with War Emblem in 2002.
Bob Baffert has been voted the Eclipse Award as the sport's outstanding trainer three times (1997, 1998 and 1999) and has trained nine Eclipse Award winners. Baffert also has trained four Quarter Horse champions.
At the start of 2008, Thoroughbreds trained by Bob Baffert had earned in excess of $127 million ranking fim fifth all-time. In 1998, Bob Baffert received the Big Sport of Turfdom Award from the Turf Publicists of America. This annual award goes to a person or group who enhances coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with the media and racing publicists. Baffert currently resides in Arcadia, Calif., along with his wife, Jill. Bob is the father of five children: Taylor, Canyon, Forest, Savannah and Bode.
Scheduling note: The overwhelming number of questions for Mr. Baffert has resulted in BloodHorse.com splitting Baffert's Talkin' Horses into two sessions. The first will be at the regularly scheduled time of Thursday, with the second on Sunday, March 30 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Please note that Baffert will attempt to answer as many questions as possible during these two sessions.
Have you ever thought about getting involved with Quarter Horse racing again? Owner perhaps? It would be great to see your name on a horse running at Los Alamitos again.
I still follow the Quarter Horses closely and have great friends in trainers John Bassett, Jaime Gomez and Brad McKinzie, Vice President of Los Alamitos. I've never really considered going back, but I draw on my Quarter Horse experience a lot in training Thoroughbreds.
Of all the champions you've had, who was the hardest to train, who was the easiest, and why? Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!
Honestly, all my champions have presented some sort of challenge. That said, Point Given was probably the toughest because he liked to play around before he went to the track, and he is a very large horse. Keeping his mind focused on the job at hand was tough in the mornings. Fortunately, he was all business in the afternoon. Stonerside Stable's Chilukki was a trainer's dream. She was quiet and kind and did everything effortlessly. One thing all my champions have in common is they were all so thrilling to watch in the mornings and in their races.
To read the complete transcript of this chat, along with many others, check out Best of Talkiní Horses.
Best of Talkin’ Horses features provocative “chats” with some of Thoroughbred racing’s most prominent names. Adapted from “Talkin’ Horses,” the popular weekly online chat series hosted by Bloodhorse.com, this edited collection provides additional insights by Ron Mitchell, editor and moderator of “Talkin’ Horses."
Editor's Note: BloodHorse.com moderators retain editorial control over Talkin' Horses discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests; guests may decline to answer questions. Opinions expressed by guests of Talkin' Horses are those of the guest and do not represent the opinions of Blood-Horse Publications, its employees, associates, or affiliated organizations. Guests, dates, and times of Talkin' Horses discussions are subject to change.