At 65 years old he is widely recognized as one of the most successful trainers in the history of horse racing. One could easily justify that. (sorry) He has 2,800 career wins, including 13 Triple Crown Races; 2 in The Belmont Stakes, 6 in The Preakness, and with JUSTIFY winning The Kentucky Derby last week, he has 5 victories in that event. In 2015 the Baffert trained colt AMERICAN PHAROAH ended a 37 year drought by winning all three legs of the Triple Crown. Baffert trained horses throughout his career have earned a whopping 248 million dollars in prize money. Over $10 million in 2018 thus far.
“The Baff” graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in the school’s Race Track Industry Program. Like many of today’s successful trainers, Bob started out training quarter horses, where he had 4 champion sprinters in his barn. He completed the transition to only thoroughbred route horses in 1991. Success came relatively quickly, he had his first Kentucky Derby win in 1997 with SILVER CHARM, followed in 1998 with REAL QUIET, 2002 WAR EMBLEM, 2015 of course brought us Triple Crown winner AMERICAN PHAROAH, and this years KD winner JUSTIFY.
The Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer was awarded to Baffert in 1997, 1998, 1999, and again in 2015. He was inducted into The National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga, NY in 2009. In an article for GQ Magazine, award winning thoroughbred racing scribe William Nack had this to say about Baffert: “Bob Baffert has an uncannily sharp eye for horseflesh. Nobody has more manifest gifts as a horse whisperer than Baffert.”
And one last interesting tidbit; of Baffert’s previous 4 KD winners all have gone on to win The Preakness. Can JUSTIFY be the 5th ? Stay tuned.