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 horse racing. 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 Horses champions.
At the start of 2008, Thoroughbreds trained by Bob Baffert had earned in excess of $127 million to rank fifth among the all-time leaders in that category. 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.
Do you have an opinion on which of the California based KY Derby contenders do you think will make the smoothest transition from synthetic to dirt surface?
I believe Georgie Boy and Colonel John are the two California stand outs right now. I wouldn't venture a guess as to how they'll transition to dirt. I don't think anybody will know until after the Derby is run. It's almost like a turf to dirt angle.
Pismo Beach, CA:
Do you think having a horse "Peak" for a specific date is the hardest part of training?
I think it presents one of the greatest challenges. I believe that's where my quarter horse experience is invaluable. As you know, they run the trial races to qualify one week. The next week you want them to be able to run their best race in the finals.
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