Baffert’s Bounce Back on Preakness Day

Racing ran the gamut of emotions at Pimlico on Saturday, from tragedy to triumph to the scratch of one of the favorites, and finally to the end, at least for now, of the feel-good story of Mage and his quest for the Triple Crown. But most of all it was about the latest chapter in the polarizing career of Bob Baffert. ~ Steve Haskin

Baffert’s Bounce Back on Preakness Day

By Steve Haskin

Photo by Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY Sports


Early on Preakness day Bob Baffert and his family had to endure the anguish and grief of seeing their star 3-year-old Havnameltdown suffer a fatal injury in the Chick Lang Stakes and watch his rider Luis Saez being put in an ambulance on a stretcher. This was a horse co-owned by his longtime owner and friend Mike Pegram, who talked Baffert into going into Thoroughbred racing from the world of Quarter-horses.

Thoughts of the Preakness Stakes later that afternoon, in which Baffert was running National Treasure, faded rapidly and their main concern was consoling their staff, who had seen Havnameltdown run his heart out in defeat in the Saudi Derby halfway around the world several months earlier.

But those who have known Baffert since his meteoric rise in the late 1990s are well aware that he is most dangerous following the lowest of times. That is when he manages to climb out of the abyss and turn misfortune into success. That misfortune could range from equine injuries, drug positives and suspensions to crushing defeats on the racetrack. But now he had to deal with a fatality at a time when racing was under intense microscopic scrutiny following the tragedies that plagued Churchill Downs during Derby week.

As someone who has been close to Baffert since his early days in Thoroughbred racing and having written his autobiography, I was fully convinced that he would somehow find a way to wipe away the tears and once again turn adversity into triumph.

After all, the script for the 2023 Preakness Stakes looked as if it had been already written. Yes, there was the Cinderella story of Kentucky Derby winner Mage, but Baffert’s career was far removed from fairy tales after writing his own years ago, coming from the small border town of Nogales, Arizona to attain unimaginable success in Thoroughbred racing, especially in the classics.

Now here he was running in the Preakness two weeks after the conclusion of his unprecedented two-year ban by Churchill Downs, in which he had to turn his potential Kentucky Derby horses over to other trainers, mainly his former assistant Tim Yakteen, in order to allow them to run in the Derby. One can only imagine what Baffert, who lives for developing Derby horses, felt seeing those horses leave his barn the past two years. Although National Treasure was one of those horses this year he was returned to Baffert following a fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby, eliminating him from Kentucky Derby consideration.

As it turned out the Preakness came up with only eight horses, none of whom had the natural speed of National Treasure, who was talented, but late-maturing. Now back in Baffert’s barn, he was getting blinkers on and wound up drawing post 1 with John Velazquez, who had already stolen two Kentucky Derbys on the front end for Baffert with Authentic and Medina Spirit. Then, First Mission, the only horse with the tactical speed to pressure National Treasure, was scratched the day before the race. Here we go again, I thought, with another Baffert horse loose on the lead with no one to prevent him from slowing the pace down to a crawl.

But on this occasion, Baffert and his wife Jill had to temporarily erase the horrific images from early in the day and all the tears that were shed before focusing their attention on winning the Preakness.

I had witnessed most of Baffert’s roller coaster rides over the past 27 years and I knew that he and Jill would wipe away those tears and turn their thoughts to National Treasure as they headed to the paddock. I also knew from experience how resilient Baffert has always been and how he somehow always finds the proverbial light at the end of tunnel. In other words, National Treasure in my mind was already on his way to the winner’s circle, Mage or no Mage. After all, the script was clearly written and there for all to see, and I have read that same script many times since 1997.

It all started in 1996, and if you can envision a trainer torn to pieces by a defeat, that was Baffert after his first Kentucky Derby starter, Cavonnier, appeared a sure winner in the stretch only to be nailed right on the wire by Grindstone in one of the closest Derby finishes of all time. A despondent Baffert was sure he had lost his one big shot at racing’s ultimate glory and would never return to the Derby again. But he was back the very next year and reversed that photo, winning by a head with Silver Charm, who propelled his trainer to rock star status and the beginning of one of the greatest training careers of all time.

In 2001, Baffert was certain he had his first Triple Crown winner in Point Given and was devastated when the towering chestnut came up empty in the Derby, finishing fifth as the 9-5 favorite. But Point Given bounced back and went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes on his way to Horse of the Year honors.

In 2002, Baffert uncharacteristically had no Derby horses, a situation he found hard to accept, but he did manage to still find controversy when he entered a huge longshot named Danthebluegrassman, which kept the horse of a chief competitor out of the Derby. Then on Derby morning, he scratched Danthebluegrassman when the colt was a reported to have tied up. About two weeks before the Derby, Baffert had become enamored with the Illinois Derby winner, War Emblem, who was then purchased by Baffert’s client The Thoroughbred Corp. War Emblem wound up winning the Kentucky Derby at odds of 20-1, giving Baffert three Derby winners in six years. He had turned having nothing into his third Derby and Preakness winner.

After going through a Triple Crown cold spell for several years, Baffert had the Derby favorite in Lookin At Lucky in 2010. But the colt drew the dreaded inside post and had one of the most nightmarish trips in Derby history, getting roughed up and slammed into the rail. He managed to come from 18th to finish sixth and then bounced back to capture the Preakness two weeks later, giving Baffert his first classic winner in eight years.

In 2012, Baffert went through the biggest crisis of his life, suffering a heart attack while in Dubai. Doctors inserted a stent to unclog his arteries and three weeks later Baffert watched on TV as his horses won all three major stakes at Oaklawn Park – the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap, and Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes. The Arkansas Derby winner Bodemeister then ran a sensational race to finish second in the Kentucky Derby after setting a blistering pace and was beaten a neck in the Preakness.

In 2016, Baffert was undergoing one of the least productive years of his career, winning only two Grade 1 races with Lord Nelson, both sprints, though the middle of August. Then out of nowhere came a monster named Arrogate, who had never run in a stakes, to win the Travers Stakes by 13 1/2 lengths in an astounding 1:59 1/5, shattering the 36-year-old track record. He followed that up with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic upsetting California Chrome and was elected to the Hall of Fame this year.

The following year Baffert unveiled one of his most brilliant 3-year-olds in years when Mastery romped in the San Felipe Stakes. It was a crushing blow when the colt was injured shortly after and never ran again. But two weeks after the San Felipe, Baffert won the Dubai World Cup with Arrogate in one of the most breathtaking runs seen in years. It was obvious by now that Baffert’s bad times were short-lived.

In 2018, Baffert had a leading Derby contender in McKinzie, but like Mastery he was injured after the San Felipe Stakes. Up steps a lightly raced undefeated colt with only two career starts named Justify, who wins the Santa Anita Derby and then becomes Baffert’s second Triple Crown winner, following American Pharoah in 2015. Like in the late 90s and early 2000s, Baffert was once again the undisputed king of Thoroughbred racing, but wielding even more power this time. In fact, he may have gotten too successful and some felt it was time to remove him from his throne.

In 2020, with the Derby run in September due to the pandemic, the weekend could not have started off worse for Baffert and Jill when 6-5 McKinzie was upset in the Alylsheba Stakes and the stable’s beloved Gamine suffered a shocking defeat at 3-5 in the Kentucky Oaks. The main reason they traveled to Kentucky in a pandemic year was to see Gamine even though they had two horses, Authentic and Thousand Words, in the Derby. Still reeling over Gamine’s defeat they were dealt another blow when Thousand Words reared up on the walking ring before the Derby and flipped over backwards, which sent assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes tumbling to the grounds. Baffert’s rock for so many years, who traveled everywhere with the horses, suffered a broken wrist and was sent to the hospital, missing the Derby. Thousand Words, who had won three stakes and was coming off a victory in the Shared Belief Stakes had to be scratched, as the nightmare continued. So what happens? Of course Baffert wins the Derby with Authentic, who upset the 3-5 favorite Tiz the Law.

After that, all hell broke loose, with Baffert coming up with several positive drug tests, which were overages of legal medications. Baffert began to feel the wrath of the public. It all came toppling down in 2021 when he won his second straight Kentucky Derby with the hard-trying unlikely hero Medina Spirit, a Cinderella story himself, having been purchased at public auction for $1,000. All looked bright with the world again until the day after the Derby when it was announced Medina Spirit had come up positive for the steroid Betamethasone. Churchill Downs, in light of the past positives and the stain on the Derby, wound up banning Baffert from running horses in the Derby and at Churchill Downs for two years. The New York Racing Association followed by also banning Baffert. Both rulings, as well as the disqualification of Medina Spirit from the Derby two months after the colt’s sudden death from an apparent heart attack following a workout, set off a rash of court hearings and appeals. Racing’s one-time hero, good guy, and rock star was now being attacked from all sides on social media.

In 2022, Baffert, because of the Churchill Downs ban, was forced to turn several of his top Derby prospects over to other trainers, again mainly Tim Yakteen. But Baffert still kept firing on all cylinders that spring when Country Grammer captured the Dubai World Cup for Medina Spirit’s owner Zedan Racing. The two horses who made it to the Derby for Yakteen, Messier and Taiba, both finished up the track.

This year, Churchill made Baffert give up his 3-year-olds by February 28 in order to be eligible for the Derby. Among those sent to Yakteen was National Treasure, who had the misfortune of having to chase Baffert’s lightning-fast Cave Rock in the American Pharoah Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic. Then at 3, he had to be scratched from the San Felipe Stakes with a sore foot. But following his fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby, he no longer was a Derby horse and was returned to Baffert.

And that brings us back to the Preakness. National Treasure and John Velazquez, as expected, followed the script perfectly. Velazquez had a good break and sent National Treasure to the lead. This time, Mage broke well and was able to sit behind the leader in third, three lengths back. But once National Treasure was allowed to get away with a sluggish 1:13 2/5 three-quarters over a very fast track you knew the race was all but over. Mage tried to close to gap but you could tell immediately that the closing kick he showed in the Derby wasn’t there. It was Blazing Sevens who actually went after National Treasure and moved alongside him looking like the stronger of the two. But National Treasure, after that slow three-quarters, had plenty left and battled back to win by a head. And he really had to pick it up, coming home in a rapid :23 2/5 and :18. Mage ran evenly late and could do no better than hold his position in third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. It was still a good effort from the Derby winner and we surely will hear from him again. The Preakness actually turned into a good race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, with the third- and fourth-place finishers in that race finishing one-two.

I can’t say that Baffert got any additional satisfaction knocking off the Derby winner and preventing NYRA from having a horse going for the Triple Crown and all the extra revenue that would have bought in. But somewhere beneath the gamut of emotions he had to be feeling, there very well could have been that underlying sentiment after all he had been put through this past year by both organizations. Racing fans will probably debate who was right and who was wrong in this whole sordid affair for many years, but right now Baffert’s next step is to return to New York and try to add the Belmont Stakes.

As for National Treasure, a son of one of the nation’s most popular sires, Quality Road, he is an outcross in his first four generations, but his fifth generation is a Who’s Who of classic horses and sires. He is inbred to Raise A Native, sire of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Majestic Prince, inbred to Triple Crown winner Secretariat, inbred three times to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Northern Dancer, and inbred to English Derby and 2,000 Guineas winner Sir Ivor. Also in his fifth generation are Nijinsky II, the last English Triple Crown winner, Damascus, winner of the Preakness and Belmont, Bold Bidder, the sire of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Spectacular Bid, Tamerett, a daughter of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Tim Tam, Gold Digger, a daughter of Preakness and Belmont winner Nashua, and Bowl of Flowers, winner of the Coaching Club American Oaks.

Looking back at this year’s Preakness, all I know is that Bob Baffert once again has risen from the depths of defeat, despair, and distrust from a once adoring public, and was able to bask in the glow of victory with his horses, his help, and his family. And in the end that’s all that matters.

Racing historian, author, and award-winning retired journalist for the Daily Racing Form and The Blood-Horse, Steve Haskin was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame’s Media Roll of Honor in 2016. Known for his racing knowledge and insightful prose, he has been an exclusive contributor to since 2020.



Signup for the newsletter For new announcements, merchandise updates and other excitement here at, please enter your email address in the popup window. Our mailing list is never sold or viewed by anyone other than

Leave a Reply

137 Responses to “Baffert’s Bounce Back on Preakness Day”

  1. Jeff says:

    I see that Pectcher had 5 drug violations in 6 months and nothing has happened to him? How does/is this be allowed without major suspension?

  2. Todd Vaughn says:

    I’m hoping that Arcangelo runs and makes an impact in the Belmont. Hard to say if he is fast enough yet, but he is developing and would be a great story. I’ve been reading about his trainer, Jena Antonucci, and it seems she is doing right by the horses on and off the track.

  3. Matthew W says:

    Steve—Ceiling Crusher is a nice sized Cal bred 3yo filly, check out her first start last year, and her last two, including today, they have options, sprint or route but do go to Saratoga… by Mr Big, out of an Indian Charlie mare—-forget who she’s beating she does it right….

  4. Davids says:

    Matthew, Sunday Silence and Deep Impact have been so successful in Japan that seventy percent of the Japanese broodmare population possesses Sunday Silence in their background. That is why numerous Japanese breeders have been buying expensive broodmares and racemares as an outcross to the Sunday Silence influence.

    Europe has too much Northern Dancer influence, Australia too much Danehill influence the US too much Mr. Prospector all countries have their problems.

    • Nelson Maan says:

      You are right Davids… I would add that the Japanese are also acquiring American Sires (no Sunday Silence of course) to cross with their saturated Sunday Silence broodmares.

      Case in point, I would never ever imagine a son of Drefong, Shanghai Bobby or Mine your Biscuit producing Derby entries if they were serving in the US.

      Not only Interesting experiment by the Japanese breeders but also very fruitful one…

      • Davids says:

        Yes, good point, Nelson. I was a bit surprised with the instant success of Drefong, Shanghai Bobby, and Mind Your Biscuit siring Derby runners so quickly but you forget Sunday Silence/Deep impact put so much stamina into their progeny along with the European influences they acquired over the past 40 years or so.

        You mentioned earlier if there were any other 3 year old fillies that I’d taken notice of apart from the main contenders, well, I have been following Jim Bolger’s Vocalised filly, Comhra who managed third in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. She might be waking up now. Jim Bolger is the master trainers’ trainer – always dangerous. Taught Aidan everything.

        Do you have a filly for the Oaks? I’m hoping Running Lion does her deceased sire proud.

        • Nelson Maan says:

          I am looking for a plausible longshot to defeat the favorite Savethelastdance …

          not there yet.

          • Davids says:

            Warm Heart, if she runs, might be worth some value. There will be quite a few tears once the Epsom Derby is run especially if Frankie wins. Frankie winning the Derby and Man City taking the FA Cup is a double hard to beat. I remember when Frankie was a quiet, introverted teenager in 1989. He could hardly say a word then.

  5. Davids says:

    As expected Tahiyra came back to winning form in the 1,000 Guineas for the Aga Khan giving her sire, Siyouni, a memorable double as Paddington had won the 2,000 Guineas the day before. Tahiyra is a half sister to Tarnawa, the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner. Tahiyra is regarded as even better than Tarnawa by Dermot Weld which is high praise.

    On to the Epsom Derby this Saturday June 3 while the Epsom Oaks will be run on the Friday, June 2. Good luck.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Dermot Weld said the Breeders cup is already under consideration. Coronation stakes likely is next.

  6. Lynda King says:

    Just some news:

    No serious issues found with Confidence Game. Some slight bone bruising and a strained tendon. He will spend some down time and then be fully evaluated for approval to return to training by Dr. B.

    Kingsbarn will not be running in Belmont. Had a mild colic that was treated with fluids. Wise decision I think by Pletcher to skip the Preakness. Even a mild colic can result in weight loss and usually requires a special feeding regimen for a week or so. Pletcher said they would regroup and decide his next race.

  7. Lynda King says:

    At this point it does not matter how you slice it, dice it, whirl it, twirl it and serve it up;
    dirt track horse racing has two choices, either change or continue dying a slow death.

    It is easy to point fingers at CHD or one particular trainer or any number of factors, but root causes are the training methods, the drugs including Lasix, the deep inbreeding generation after generation, the emphasis on speed, speed, speed.

    After doing a lot of reading and following international horse racing for quite some time now, I am convinced that is the greed for speed and money that is killing these horses.

    The excuse(s) that the horse took a misstep or stepped in a hole has been used ad nauseum. Yes horses do suffer fractures in other horse sports, in pastures, in the wild but NOT in the frequency that is seen in American Thoroughbred dirt horses.

    Sometimes horses do clip heels in a race and go down and sometimes a reckless riding jockey causes an accident, however, rarely is said jockey sanctioned or fined or suspended. Why? Because he wins big bucks for the connections.

    This whole matter sickens me from start to finish snd yes, makes me angry.

    The United States has ruined the Thoroughbred breed. These horses racing today are mere shadow of the horse that was first exported to the Colonies in the 1730’s and was walked and ridden 200 miles from the home farm in Maryland to a 4 mile track in Gloucester in Virginia.
    This is NOT the same horse that was used as a riding horse, raced cross country and ran in 4 mile heats with final race in the afternoon; the horse that General US Grant rode during the Civil War; the horse that was highly prized and desired for the Olympics. Not the same horse that was ridden hard overnight through woods, over streams, swam through rivers so her rider could warn Governor Thomas Jefferson of the Tory plot to kidnap him that he overheard in a tavern.

    They no longer have stamina or scope or intelligence that their predecessors had.

    Good grief…a horse runs a mile and a quarter race and has to rest a month or longer between races?
    Where is the common sense in all this?

    A horse is slam worn out after a race? What does that tell you???

    • John Goggin says:

      Agree with you, Lynda. But the first thing right now is that Churchill Downs must shut down with no more racing until an thorough investigation/changes are made. Santa Anita shut down and so did Laurel.
      And a 12th equine death has happened at CD in less than 30 days…in less than a month, that is.
      Churchill Downs has now become a house of horrors or a ‘killing fields’.

      • Lynda King says:

        Yes, totally agree, CD does need to shut down until necropsies including blood tests are completed on every horse and a review of all their vet and trainers records and the track’s safety protocols.

    • Matthew W says:

      Wha—???….Japan got their blood from USA horses, and they race on dirt…Sunday Silence was racing 33 years ago…..and USA is ruined? Good grief is right .

      • Lynda King says:

        Matthew W, not exactly true that all their bloodstock came from American horses and their horses are NOT deeply in bred as some have stated on this forum.
        Indeed they did hit gold with Sunday Silence. He crossed well with the Northern Taste mares (Northern Tsste was a broodmare sire) and unfortunately never produced a stallion that could carry on his bloodline.
        Back to the Japanese bloodstock, the late Zenya Yoshida traveled the world for mares to breed to Northern Taste. Yes he did import mares from the United States including several sired by Secretariat but many also came from Canada, Argentina, France and England.

  8. Davids says:

    Paddington soars to victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and on to the Prix du Jockey Club. Another triumph by Aidan O’Brien what a record this trainer will have when he retires. The ground at Chantilly will suit Paddington much better than was at the Curragh.

    Siyouni is well on his way to siring a Classic double at the Curragh on the weekend as Tahiyra is a firm favorite for the 1,000 Guineas on Sunday. Coolmore and Peter Brant are doing extremely well in supporting the Aga Khan’s champion French stallion.

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Siyouni (with a stud fee of €150,000) is currently among the top 5 Sires in Europe behind Dubawi, Frankel, Sea the Stars, and No Nay Never.

      The only sires with 2000/1000 Irish Guineas doubles were Danehill Dancer (2009 Mastercraftman, Again) and Galileo (in 2011 with Roderic O’Connor and Misty for Me, and in 2017 with Churchill and Winter). As you said, Siyouni is bound to join that exclusive list.

      Tahiyra is the 1-2 fixed-odds favorite with British bookmakers. She was defeated by Godolphin’s Mawj in the 1000 Guineas 20 days ago as the odds-on favorite. The daughter of Siyouni conceded at least 7 lengths when she lunged and lurched out of post 15 at the start and despite that big hiccup she was only half length to victory… which would have kept her undefeated in 3 stars…

      Tahiyra’s official rating is way above those of her peers and makes her the early favorite for the Coronation Stakes at Ascot on June 23.

      Aidan O’Brien’s Meditate (the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies) will have to run the race of her life to try defeating Tahiyra specially after her 6th in the aforementioned English 1000 Guineas.

      We might see some special performance tomorrow courtesy of Tahiyra…

      • Davids says:

        I hope so, Nelson. Dermot Weld said Tahiyra was 2 weeks underdone for the English 2,000 Guineas but ran her anyway. The trip to Newmarket, from Ireland, and the ground was seen as an excuse for both Auguste Rodin and Tahiyra being defeated.

        Tahiyra should redeem herself in style. Siyouni throws in that acceleration to his top performers which enables them to clear when required. Hopefully, some of his sons will able to do the same. The Siyouni cross with Galileo looking like flourishing partnership – both ways.

        Expect Coolmore to reap the rewards, handsomely.

        • Nelson Maan says:

          Tahiyra did not disappoint at all with her facile win as expected… the next chapter is revanche against Godolphin’s Mawj in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot on June 23rd .

          Do you see any new face capable of wrestling with these two darlings at Ascot?

          • Davids says:

            Not really, not at this stage anyway, Nelson. Tahiyra is performing as expected but by Autumn things may have changed.

      • Lynda King says:

        Nelson, my pick was Cairo and eventhough he ran second, I was very pleased.

        • Nelson Maan says:

          Good one Lynda… You should indeed be very pleased not many believed the son of Quality Road would improve that much… hence his 15 to 1 final odds…

          Let’s see how he progresses toward the upcoming important Stakes for King O’Biren …!

          • Lynda King says:

            Thanks Nelson.
            Hopefully he will win some of these bigger races in the future.
            I really like Quality Road as a sire. He has great bone in his legs, few conformation faults and his progeny bring good prices.
            And of course he has that “Fabio Forelock”, LOL.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Derby looks pretty wide open with no major stars so far. Arrest could give Dettoii his ffnale Derby win. Huge colt with a lot of leg, but he looked good working at Epsom last week. Got down Tattenham Corner pretty smoothly.

      • Lynda King says:

        Love reading your thoughts about the International races Steve!

      • Davids says:

        Steve, Arrest is the colt I like as well. He has been sparkling in his training for the Gosdens since winning the Chester Vase, a major prep for the Epsom Derby.

        In the Oaks, I’m hoping Oisin Murphy will give the Gosdens a chance for the double with Running Lion. The Oaks looks a race between Savethelastdance, Soul Sister, and Running Lion. Good luck.

  9. Matthew W says:

    36 horses taken out of circulation to run in 6 horse fields against one another….sounds like wealthy people having a contest, using horses….not sure it’s good for Horse Racing. .

  10. Nelson Maan says:

    A daughter of the immortal Black Caviar named Invincible Caviar will try to win the Tobin Brothers Bel Esprit Stakes Handicap to be run at Australia’s Ladbrokes Park Hillside @ Sandown in two hours from now. It would be the first Stakes winner for the unbeaten legendary mare. Invincible Caviar is the most talented offspring of Black Caviar’s seven heirs.

    I don’t have access to her detailed PP but Invincible Caviar has won four out of six races in her way to be the first Stakes winner for her perfect mum…

    The favorite in that 5 furlong Stakes is the gelding 4yo Katsu (son of Mikki Isle (JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN)).

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Invincible Caviar finished fourth 2 lengths behind the winner closing well but not strong enough this time…

  11. Matthew W says:

    Hovdey writes about Jimmy Jerkins getting on a plane for the middle east….not sure about his future in America, in the face of two Kentucky horse deaths, and New York’s sanctions for Kentucky happenings. ..a good trainer leaves, in the face of an unclear scenario….

    • Terri Z says:

      Mathew W:
      This is the second or third article written about Jimmy Jerkens. He has not been able to earn a decent living in New York with all the high costs of living and of training in New York.
      What’s really sad, is that someone like Jimmy Jerkens should have owners lined up outside his barn. He was trained by one of the best trainers in the business: H. Allen Jerkens, his father.
      And another trainer, has thousands of horses at Gulfstream.

  12. Matthew W says:

    If. .CDI decides to continue the BB suspension…..then I guess they didn’t get their desired result, from two years?…

    • Jeff says:

      Do not know what your referencing? But if CDI did do this action, I can see a scenario where other trainers will start thinking of other races besides the KD. With this precedent, I can see trainers evaluating if it is even worth the risk running at CD.

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Hi Matthew…

      It is Amr Zedan the owner of the late Medina Spirit who has promised to not let CDI dictums slide against what he rightfully calls the legacy of his horse. He believes CDI has been unjust in dealing with his case and his trainer Bob Baffert is on the same page.

      Now CDI is threatening the Hall of Fame Trainer with an extended suspension … under what ground? That the owner is seeking redemption for his horse as a rightful winner of the Derby…

      CDI may do whatever it deems good to its business, but their monopoly will be at risk if they go further in their display of power…
      The more CDI punishes Baffert the more horses he will be getting from Zedan and other loyal owners.

      I have this feeling that an open Western Triple Crown will be a good measure for fair competition and to end the monopoly of the CDI on a traditional race they sell as a “National Treasure” but in reality, it is its sole property.

      A powerful horse owner could put $10 million in prizes for three well selected races, and you will have a new Triple Crown in the West to accentuate the always appealing East-West rivalry by the end of the season.

      I see a good business there… what do you think?

      • I like your thinking here. CDI has become very arrogant in recent years !!!

      • Matthew W says:

        I can’t see it….Cali over the years put up big bucks for races like The Swaps Stakes, which only brought one easterner—-Seattle Slew, who was beat 16 lengths, this I believe: CDI is scaring people, they saw what happened to Bob, they see what happened to Saffie Joseph….Jimmy Jerkins decided to pull up stakes people ate getting afraid of CDI sanctions, but they cannot change tradition, it would hurt Horse Racing.

        • Nelson Maan says:

          Tradition can be created … you only need to start a new thing now and be persistent. Coming from Venezuela where there are three Triple Crowns (the most “Traditional” one in the Capital, one in Valencia and another in the West) I feel like a country with 10 times more population could do the same…

          The only thing needed is resources… for instance, UAE has progressed with its World Cup day and the Saudis are looking to establish its Cup over time as well.

          When you commercialize tradition the way CDI is doing then it becomes merely a business … and business is better with competition… but I take your point about being very difficult to change the Status Quo…

          • Jeff says:

            In essence, CDI does proceed with further suspensions, they will be shooting themselves in the foot. They also will be sued for discriminatory practices singling out one trainer. KD eventually will lose out with a badly managed track. I mean look what they did to their turf course last year as well-harming the horses unprecedentedly.

            • Nelson Maan says:

              Yes Jeff … CDI just decides that blaming others for deaths of horses and every issue/problem on its track is the way to go…

              advice its management to read Matthew 7:5 => Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

              • Mike Relva says:

                Where does blame belong for 7 horses given med and died from his barn? Unreal!

                • Nelson Maan says:

                  I feel your passion there Mike… and I don’t want to start an sterile and unnecessary diatribe here…

                  I was referring specifically to the 12th death at Churchill in less than a month and CDI pointing fingers at trainers before finishing the pertinent investigations to determine the causes.

                  Baffert was obviously responsible of the 7 deaths from his barn from November 2011 to March 2013 at Hollywood Park.

                  An extensive investigation by the California Horse Racing Board into that case concluded that “there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Baffert or anyone associated with his stable.”

                  However, Baffert had the thyroid drug Thyro-L administered to all of the horses in his stable which was a common practice by other trainers at that time. After that incident that practice was dropped by Baffert.

                  A big lesson learnt there…

                  It was his greatest blunder and in fact 2011-2013 was the only span of time where Baffert did not have at least one champion in his barn… until the arrival of American Pharoah.

                  I don’t care about people hating Baffert I am just acknowledging his professional achievements since 1995 and his resilience keeping him as one of the most recognizable faces in Horse Racing today.

                  If you believe Baffert was not punished enough I respect that but you also may respect my perception that CDI actions were NOT “done in the best interest of protecting the integrity of horseracing”…

  13. Lynda King says:

    National Thoroughbred League launches in September with 6 teams.
    Thoughts anyone about its potential for success?
    Steve, I think some years ago you mentioned the possibility of such league while you were writing for Blood Horse.

    • Dewey Hebert says:

      Haven’t heard of this, Lynda. What’s the concept behind the National Thoroughbred League?

      • Lynda King says:

        The concept is similar to football or basketball leagues and what 3 day eventing equestrian teams (dressage, show ring jumping and cross country) do.
        5 teams representing 5 cities (Nashville, Seattle, New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles and championship races in Tampa.
        People can buy ownership shares in teams.
        Two races or cups in September, one each in October and November and the championship in December, all with points awarded.
        Mares, geldings and stallions race together. There will be betting.
        Several trainers including Brown, Assmussen and I think Cox have bought in. Chantal Southerland and Mike Smith as well.
        You can read about it on their website: NTLdotracing.
        Just learning about it myself.

        • Dewey Hebert says:

          Thanks for the framework, Lynda. It sounds intriguing and has the potential to develop more fan interest via the team concept. I’m anxious to see the National Thoroughbred League in play, but I’ll wait to see what the lineups look like before I consider investing. Let’s hope that they vigorously promote this league for a healthy level of participation. Looking forward to it. Thanks!

  14. Lynda King says:

    Several things:

    Condolences to the connections of Discreet Cat (who was standing in Japan) and Fusaichi Pegasus, both of whom were euthanizesd due to infirmities of old age.

    Rich Strike has been transfered to Bill Mott. So happy for the colt!

    Most are aware I guess that Tina Turner has passed away. She was an amazing and talented woman who overcame a turbulent childhood and an abusive marriage to become one of the brightest stars in the music business. If you get a chance, watch her official music video of “Simply the Best”. An incredible performance AND she is riding a horse!

    Steve, Bob is truly blessed to have such a loyal and supportive friend as you are and have been. Your article tells us volumes about the man he is behind the sunglasses.

    • Deacon says:

      Thanks for the news Lynda. I did read where Fu-Peg & Discreet Cat had died. Very heart felt & all my condolences to the connections.
      Tina & Ike Turner lived about 2 miles from my house in L.A.
      There was always much commotion going on around their place. Ike was a jealous hot head from what people told me.
      I saw Tina in concert back in the 1970’s, what a powerful performer.

      RIP dear Tina, you were one the best………

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      Thanks for posting this newsy update, Lynda. I didn’t realize Discreet Cat also passed away. And I’m thrilled that Ritchie is going to Bill Mott. He may yet win again.

      As for Tina Turner, I really wish I had seen her in person. What a force of nature.

      • Lynda King says:

        Saw her once when they were Ike and Tina.
        You are welcome.
        Best wishes for Rich Strike going forward. Bill Mott is a really good trainer and his go to Jockey is Alverado. Read he has been at Rood and Riddle under the care of Dr Larry B for a month. No idea why.
        Sometimes drama does affect horses. They are very intuitive and pick up on people’s emotions.
        Maybe the change in atmosphere will be positive for him.

      • Lynda King says:

        “Horse” by Geraldine Brooks.
        It is novel about the race horse, Lexington.
        Great read and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in these great race horses from the past.

        • Ms Blacktype says:

          I have the book “Horse,” Lynda — put it down when I got to the part where “Darley” was transferred to a new trainer who appeared to be an abuser of horses. Must figure out where i put it!

          • Lynda King says:

            I downloaded the Kindle version.
            Rather than buying only very special books, that is what I do now.
            Do want to buy the hardcover book by Patricia McQueen about Secretariat and his descendants.
            Know what you mean about starting a book and putting it down.
            I have tried to read “The Perfect Horse” three times. It is the story of the rescue of the Polish Arabians from the Polish National Stud by the US Army during WWll. Same division who rescued the Lippizans.
            It is a hard read because of what happened to many of the horses.
            My Arabians go back to Ofir, one of stallions that was rescued.

  15. Davids says:

    Classic racing turns to the Emerald Isle this weekend at the Curragh in County Kildare. Blue skies and sunshine are guaranteed. The 2,000 Guineas will be run on Saturday, May 27 and the 1,000 Guineas will be run on Sunday, May 28.

    The 2,000 Guineas appears to be a race between Paddington and the two placings of the English 2,000 Guineas in Hi Royal and Royal Scotsman. Paddington gets the nod but the race should be tight. Oisin Murphy has returned in glorious form.

    In the 1,000 Guineas the extremely smart Tahiyra should make amends of her close defeat in the English 1,000. Her main danger could come from stablemate Tarawa and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Meditate.

    Will it be a Classic double for the elite sire, Sayouni? Seems very possible. Enjoy the racing.

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      Some nice classics to tide us over until the Belmont stateside. Thanks for the preview, Davids!

      • Davids says:

        Yes, that is true Ms Blacktype. On June 2 we have the Epsom Oaks followed by the Epsom Derby on Saturday, June 3 both at Epsom Downs but at the moment we have to sort out these milers.

        Paddington looks more a 10f runner to me, the Prix du Jockey Club has always been the race they have touted him for, but he may have enough speed to run a fast mile. Chaldean might be the best 3 year old colt at a mile but at present he hasn’t really stamped himself as a crack miler. This may change, however.

        That’s the fun thing about European racing you have the option between England, France or Ireland to win a Classic or two or the whole lot of them. Ha ha

      • Davids says:

        Ms Blacktype, Paddington was very impressive in the Irish 2,000 Guineas onward and upward with this colt. Next year the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will be the target should he stay in training.

    • Nelson Maan says:

      I like the chances of the other Coolmore horse in the Irish 2,000 Guineas: PROUD AND REGAL(Ch.c.3 Galileo – Simply Perfect (GB) by Danehill (USA), IRE) for Donnacha O’Brien. You ought to love his win in the 2022 Criterium International (G1) in France. He is cutting in distance (to the mile) after reappearing in the 10 furlongs of the Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown(Ire).

      Royal Scotsman (B.c.3 Gleneagles – Enrol (GB) by Pivotal (GB), IRE) was supplemented (€50,000) to run there after a troublesome third in the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas. However, I believe Hi Royal (B.c.3 Kodiac (GB) – Majestic Roi (USA) by Street Cry, IRE) will beat him again as he did at Newmarket when second behind Chaldean. Hi Royal, despite wandering in the last 2 furlongs, was able to hold off Royal Scotsman final rally …

      Good luck with Paddington … it will be an enjoyable race for sure.

      • Davids says:

        You may well be right with Proud and Regal, Nelson. I’m a fan of cutting back to a mile but these other colts might have too much speed and enough stamina for Proud and Regal to catch them late but good luck with him. Should be a good race whatever the outcome.

        Are you still high on Military Order for the Epsom Derby, I’m sticking with Arrest. Getting closer now.

        • Nelson Maan says:

          Yes Davids… I am with Military Order and he is still the favorite in the market… so without knowing how he is doing in his training I am still confident about him

          I will have to echo Jack Nicol’s assessment on April 22 when he wrote “Military Order is my idea of this year’s Derby winner”.

          It is expected a heavy or soft going for the Epsom Derby… so not sure if Arrest would like that.

      • Davids says:

        Paddington keeps getting better and better. Next race is either going to be the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot or the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.