Bob Baffert aiming to add to his Breeders’ Cup success
By Art Wilson
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert already sits second behind his good friend D. Wayne Lukas in Breeders’ Cup victories with 14. By late afternoon on Nov. 4, he might be right on the heels of Lukas’ record 20 wins.
Baffert has pre-entered a personal-high 11 horses for the 34th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar on Nov. 3-4, and he has a solid shot to add four victories to his resume with entries in the Classic, Distaff, Sprint and Dirt Mile.
He’s also got horses pre-entered in the Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies and Filly & Mare Sprint, and while those runners don’t appear on paper to be as live as horses like Arrogate, Abel Tasman, Drefong, Cupid and Mor Spirit, it’s never wise to dismiss a Baffert horse.
Let’s start with the $6 million Classic, a race that once haunted Baffert. He started his career 0 for 12 with Classic starters before finally breaking through with Bayern in 2014. He enjoyed the experience so much, he’s made it a record three consecutive after victories by American Pharoah and Arrogate the past two years.
What’s Baffert’s secret?
“I haven’t won it with a slow horse,” he said. “They were all great horses. A lot of it, the horses got me there. I wasn’t really armed like I am now.”
Baffert admits he called an audible after the 1999 Breeders’ Cup at Gulfstream Park when he blanked during the eight-race program.
“That was a disaster for me, and I sorta re-thought the way I prepare ‘em,” he said. “You gotta have something left for the fall. I think I’ve become a better manager. The older you get, you get better at it, I guess.”
Guess so, since Baffert has gotten pretty darn good.
Baffert pre-entered five in the Classic, though probably only four will go. Cupid is likely to race […]