Bob Baffert and Jimmy Barnes

Bob Baffert and Jimmy Barnes

Benoit Photography

Trainer Bob Baffert Collects 2,000th Victory

Milestone win for Hall of Fame conditioner comes at Hollywood for owner Mike Pegram.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert collected the 2,000th win of his carer when the maidenFree Pourin held off Baffert stablemate Tokubetsu in the third race at Hollywood Park Dec. 5.

Free Pourin, a 2-year-old son of Roman Ruler, is owned by longtime Baffert client Mike Pegram. The 57-year-old Baffert trained Eclipse Award champions Lookin At Lucky , Real Quiet and Silverbulletday for Pegram.

"Mike Pegram got me started in the business and I got number 2,000 for Mike," Baffert told TVG after a brief picture-taking ceremony in the winner's circle.. "As they came off the turn, it looked like I had it."

Pacesetting Free Pourin ($11.60), ridden by Joe Talamo, took a big lead into the stretch but was passed briefly by Peachtree Stable's Tokubetsu at the eighth pole before battling back along the inside to win by three-quarters of a length. Pegram's homebred gray/roan colt was timed in 1:11.03 for six furlongs on Cushion Track. Tokubetsu, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, finished second.

The milestone win came on a day when a big crowd is on hand at Hollywod to celebrate the retirement of Zenyatta.

"Two thousand wins doesn't sound like that many, but I must have had 3,000 seconds," Baffert joked. "I'm glad I got it today. It couldn't have happened on a better day with all the Zenyatta fans here. So at least more than 500 people will know it."

In all, Baffert has conditioned 11 Eclipse Award champions who have accounted for 13 titles. Besides those mentioned earlier, his other Eclipse winners are Midshipman , Indian Blessing, Midnight Lute , Chilukki, Point Given, Silver Charm, Vindication and War Emblem. Point Given won Horse of the Year in 2001.

Baffert began his career training Quarter Horses, switching over to Thoroughbreds in the late 1980s mostly due to the encouragement of Pegram and fellow owner Hal Earnhardt. He won three consecutive Eclipse Awards as the nation's top trainer from 1997-99 and led all conditioners in earnings from 1998-2001. He was inducted into Thoroughbred Racing's Hall of Fame in 2009.

His career includes three wins n the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), five in the Preakness (gr. I), and one in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). He also has saddled seven Breeders' Cup and two Dubai World Cup winners. 

Baffert ranks sixth all-time among trainers with earnings of $155,109,369 through Dec. 4.