ARCADIA, Calif. – Bob Baffert has 12 horses entered in stakes at Santa Anita starting today through Sunday, and while the two-time Triple Crown winning trainer is focused on the here and now, he also has his mind on the future, namely the former second jewel of the Triple Crown — this altered year it’s the final leg – the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Oct. 3.
Baffert, who upset favored Tiz the Law with Authentic to win his sixth Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5, plans to enter both Authentic and Thousand Words in the mile and 3/16 Preakness. The latter three-year-old was 20 minutes from starting in the Run for the Roses but flipped in the paddock and was scratched from the world’s most famous race.
Both horses will ship to Pimlico from their present base in Kentucky but Baffert wasn’t given to obsessing with Authentic’s triumph, which tied the 67-year-old Hall of Fame member with legendary Calumet Farm trainer Jimmy Jones for most Kentucky Derby training victories at six.
“I don’t really think about it too much,” Baffert said, inclined to shrug off the question somewhat. “I think of all the Derby wins that got away.” They would include near misses by California-bred Cavonnier, 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given and Lookin At Lucky.
“I’ve won six of them and had the best horse in the race, and also had the best horse in the race and got beat, so you not only need the best horse, you need everything to go right. But having the best horse really is the main thing.”
As to the health of his right-hand man, Jim Barnes, who suffered a broken right wrist when trying to aid Thousand Words during his pre-Derby incident, Baffert was happy to report his long-time assistant is on the mend.
“He’s doing well,” Baffert said. “He’s back on the beat, we’ve got him in the golf cart. It will take a while for him to heal up, but he’s at the barn every morning helping out.
“He’ll miss the Preakness but he said he’ll be ready to travel for the Breeders’ Cup.”
Photo: Authentic. Credit: Benoit Photos