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Bob Baffert
Baffert 2023 Preakness Stakes.jpg
Baffert claiming his trophy for National Treasure at the 2023 Preakness Stakes
Occupation Trainer
Born (1953-01-13) January 13, 1953 (age 71)
Nogales, Arizona, U.S.
Career wins 3,046+ (ongoing)
Major racing wins
    • Breeders' Cup wins:
    • Breeders' Cup Sprint (1992, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2016)
    • Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (1998, 2007)
    • Breeders' Cup Juvenile (2002, 2008, 2013, 2018, 2021)
    • Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint (2011)
    • Breeders' Cup Classic (2014, 2015, 2016, 2020)
    • Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (2020)
    • International stakes wins:
    • Dubai World Cup (1998, 2001, 2017, 2022)
    • Dubai Golden Shaheen (2015)
Racing awards
    • Big Sport of Turfdom Award (1997, 2015)
    • Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer (1997, 1998, 1999, 2015)
    • United States Champion Trainer by earnings (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
    • American Horse of the Year (2001, 2015, 2018, 2020)
    • American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse (1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020)
    • American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly (1999, 2017)
    • American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse (2002, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2018, 2021)
    • American Champion Two-Year-Old Filly (1998, 1999, 2007)
    • American Champion Sprint Horse (2007, 2016)
    • American Champion Female Sprint Horse (2008, 2020)
Significant horses
Abel Tasman, American Pharoah, Arrogate, Authentic, Bayern, Behaving Badly, Bob and John, Bodemeister, Captain Steve, Chilukki, Congaree, Dortmund, Drefong, First Dude, Forestry, Game On Dude, Indian Blessing, Justify, Lookin At Lucky, Lord Nelson, Mastery, Medina Spirit, Midnight Lute, Midshipman, Misremembered, National Treasure, Pioneerof The Nile, Point Given, Real Quiet, Secret Circle, Silverbulletday, Silver Charm, Sinister Minister, Vindication, War Emblem, West Coast, Zensational

Robert A. Baffert (born January 13, 1953) is an American racehorse trainer who trained the 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. Baffert's horses have won a record six Kentucky Derbies, eight Preakness Stakes, three Belmont Stakes, and three Kentucky Oaks.

Early life and career

Baffert grew up on a ranch in Nogales, Arizona, where his family raised cattle and chickens. When he was 10, his father purchased some Quarter Horses and he practiced racing them on a dirt track. In his teens, he worked as a jockey for $100 a day in informal Quarter Horse races on the outskirts of Nogales. From there, he moved to racing at recognized tracks, scoring his first victory at age 17 in 1970.

Baffert graduated from the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program with a Bachelor of Science degree, got married, and began training quarter horses at a Prescott, Arizona farm. By age 20, he had developed a reputation as a trainer and was hired by other trainers to run their stables. His first winner was Flipper Star at Rillito Park on January 28, 1979. In the 1980s, Baffert moved to California and worked at Los Alamitos Race Course, where he switched to training Thoroughbreds full-time in 1991. He got his first big break in 1992 when he won his first Breeder's Cup race with Thirty Slews.

Baffert established his early reputation with less expensive horses like Silver Charm and Real Quiet, bought for $16,500 and $17,000 respectively. Fellow trainer D. Wayne Lukas attributed Baffert's success to his "extraordinary eye for a good horse" and his management ability in finding the right opportunities for his charges.

American Classic history

Baffert's history in the American Classic races began in 1996 when he trained a three-year-old colt named Cavonnier, who ran second in the Kentucky Derby. In 1997, he trained Silver Charm to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, finishing second in the Belmont. Baffert revisited the Derby the next year, sending two top colts, Real Quiet and Indian Charlie, to Louisville. Real Quiet won the race that year, and Baffert also finished third with Indian Charlie. Real Quiet won the Preakness as well, but, like Silver Charm, the horse was denied a Triple Crown win and finished second in the Belmont Stakes by a nose. Baffert, however, became the first trainer in history to win the Derby and Preakness in back-to-back years.

Baffert did not win another classic race until 2001, when he won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes with eventual Hall of Fame member Point Given. He finished third in the Derby that year with Congaree. Baffert won the Derby a third time in 2002 with War Emblem. The colt went on to win the Preakness Stakes, giving the trainer his third shot at winning the Triple Crown. The colt lost the Belmont Stakes after breaking poorly from the starting gate. Baffert did not have a horse hit the board again in any of the Triple Crown races until 2009, when he trained Pioneerof The Nile to a second-place finish in the Derby.

Baffert trained Lookin At Lucky, co-owned by Mike Pegram, to win the Preakness Stakes in 2010. The colt skipped the Belmont Stakes but became the champion three-year-old colt that year. In 2012, Baffert saddled Bodemeister, named for the trainer's youngest son, Bode, to second-place finishes in the Derby and Preakness. He saddled Paynter in the Belmont Stakes later that year, but that colt, like his stablemate Bodemeister, finished second.

In 2015, Baffert trained the 2014 champion two-year-old colt American Pharoah to win the Triple Crown, the first to do so in 37 years. In winning the 141st Kentucky Derby, bringing his total number of victories in the race to four; Baffert also ran the third-place finisher, the previously undefeated colt Dortmund. American Pharoah next won the 140th Preakness Stakes, making six victories in that race for Baffert, who also finished fourth with Dortmund. Then, when American Pharoah won the 2015 Belmont Stakes, the win was the fourth attempt at a Triple Crown for Baffert, who at age 62 became the second-oldest trainer to win a Triple Crown.

Baffert also trained the 2018 Triple Crown Winner, Justify and the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner, Authentic. Baffert became a 7-time winner of the Kentucky Derby in 2021 with Medina Spirit. However, Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid betamethasone. As of 1 January  2022 (2022 -01-01) the question of whether the horse would join Dancer's Image by being disqualified for a drug violation in the Derby remains pending.


Between 1997 and 1999, he won the Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer three years running and was voted the 1997 Big Sport of Turfdom Award. Baffert was inducted into Lone Star Park's Hall of Fame in 2007, and in 2009, he was nominated and inducted to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame, the same year as a filly he trained, Silverbulletday. Point Given was nominated in 2009, but elected and inducted in 2010.

Baffert has trained horses that won seventeen American Classic Races, eighteen Breeders' Cup races, four Dubai World Cups and two Pegasus World Cups. His graded stakes wins include nine wins in the Santa Anita Derby, nine in the Haskell Invitational Handicap, nine in the Hollywood Gold Cup Stakes, and sixteen in the Del Mar Futurity, a race he won seven straight times from 1996 to 2002, when it was a Grade II event. He also won the race in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2021, and 2022 when run as a Grade I event. He has won the Kentucky Oaks three times: first in 1999 with Silverbulletday, who was later selected for the Hall of Fame, then with Plum Pretty in 2011 and with Abel Tasman in 2017.

In 2010, Misremembered, a horse he bred, owned by his wife Jill and their friend George Jacobs, won the Santa Anita Handicap, marking Baffert's first Grade I win as a breeder instead of a trainer.

Personal life

Baffert has been married twice and has five children: four with his first wife, Sherry: Taylor, Canyon, Forest, and Savannah. He married his second wife, Jill, a former television reporter based in Louisville, in 2002. They had a son in 2004 whom they named "Bode" (/ˈbdi/ BOH-dee), after skier Bode Miller. Baffert and his family reside in California.

He appeared in an episode of the TV show Take Home Chef.

Bob survived a heart attack in late March 2012 while in Dubai for a world-class race at Meydan.

Following the 2015 Belmont win, Baffert outlined several charities that he and his wife Jill supported. He had been paid $200,000 to allow the Burger King to stand behind him in the grandstand during the televised broadcast of the Belmont, after having turned down $150,000 to allow the mascot to appear with him at the Preakness. At the post-Belmont press conference, Baffert announced he and his wife would be making donations of $50,000 each to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), and Old Friends Equine, all programs for retired race horses; and to the Permanently Disabled Jockey's Fund in memory of a Quarter Horse Jockey named Robert Z. "Bobby" Adair. A friend of Baffert's and an inductee into the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame, Adair died on Preakness Day, May 16, 2015, at 71. Baffert dedicated American Pharoah's win to Bobby.

Triple Crown race record

Year Kentucky Derby Finish Preakness Stakes Finish Belmont Stakes Finish
1996 Cavonnier 2nd Cavonnier 4th Cavonnier DNF
1996 Semoran 14th - - - -
1997 Silver Charm 1st Silver Charm 1st Silver Charm 2nd
1998 Real Quiet 1st Real Quiet 1st Real Quiet 2nd
1998 Indian Charlie 3rd - - - -
1999 Prime Timber 4th - - - -
1999 Excellent Meeting‡ 5th Excellent Meeting‡ DNF - -
1999 - - - - Silverbulletday‡ 7th
1999 General Challenge 11th - - - -
2000 Captain Steve 8th Captain Steve 4th - -
2001 Congaree 3rd Congaree 3rd - -
2001 Point Given 5th Point Given 1st Point Given 1st
2002 War Emblem 1st War Emblem 1st War Emblem 8th
2003 Indian Express 14th - - - -
2003 - - Senor Swinger 5th - -
2005 Sort It Out 17th - - - -
2006 Point Determined 9th - - - -
2006 Sinister Minister 16th - - - -
2006 Bob and John 17th - - Bob and John 8th
2009 Pioneerof The Nile 2nd - - - -
2010 Lookin At Lucky 6th Lookin At Lucky 1st - -
2010 Conveyance 15th - - - -
2010 - - - - Game On Dude 4th
2011 Midnight Interlude 16th Midnight Interlude 13th - -
2012 Bodemeister 2nd Bodemeister 2nd - -
2012 Liaison 6th - - - -
2012 - - - - Paynter 2nd
2013 - - Govenor Charlie 8th - -
2014 Chitu 9th - - - -
2014 - - Bayern 9th - -
2015 American Pharoah 1st American Pharoah✝ 1st American Pharoah✝ 1st
2015 Dortmund 3rd Dortmund 4th - -
2016 Mor Spirit 10th - - - -
2016 - - Collected 10th - -
2018 Justify 1st Justify✝ 1st Justify ✝ 1st
2018 Solomini 10th - - - -
2018 - - - - Restoring Hope 8th
2019 Improbable 4th Improbable 6th - -
2019 Game Winner 5th - - - -
2019 Roadster 15th - - - -
2020 Authentic 1st Authentic 2nd - -
2020 - - Thousand Words 8th - -
2021 Medina Spirit Last* Medina Spirit 3rd - -
2021 - - Concert Tour 9th - -

Kentucky Derby record: 34–7–3–3

Preakness record: 23–7–2–3

Belmont record: 12–3–3–0

  • ✝ – won Triple Crown.
  • ‡ – Filly
  • * – win stripped
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