Bob Baffert Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast

Bob Baffert | Horsephotos

To some trainers, the GI Preakness S. has become an afterthought. They worry about making the GI Kentucky Derby, so much to the point that the Preakness is not on their radar. The exception is Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. Yes, he'd like to win the Derby more so than any other race, but the Preakness isn't far behind. He's won it eight times and will be back in Baltimore this week with Muth (Good Magic), the 8-5 morning line favorite, and Imagination (Into Mischief), who is 6-1 on the morning line.

What is it about the Preakness that brings out the best in his horses, would he have won the Derby if he would have been allowed to participate and what does he think of his Preakness chances this year? Those were among the questions we asked Baffert when he appeared on this week's edition of the Thoroughbred Daily News Writers' Room Podcast presented by Keeneland. Baffert was this week's Green Group Guest of the Week.

Considering that Muth defeated eventual Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan (Goldencents) by 6 1/4 lengths when the two met in the GI Arkansas Derby, might Baffert, had he have been allowed to run, have sent out the best horses in the Derby?

“When you have 20 horses [in the Derby], you don't know what's going to happen,” Baffert said. “I mean, what if Muth would have broken slow or something? That's water under the bridge. What happened? It was all about who got the trip. Mystik Dan figured to be among the top five, and he got the trip, and that's what he needed. With 20 horses, that's what makes it so exciting.”

 

Bob Baffert Joins the TDN Writers' Room from Thoroughbred Daily News on Vimeo.

 

As far as his fondness for the Preakness, Baffert came into the sport during a time when the Preakness was still a huge race and it was unimaginable that any healthy, talented 3-year-old would miss any of the Triple Crown races.

“When I went to the Derby for the first time with Cavonnier in 1996, the Preakness was still huge,” he said. “It had all the good horses. You went to the Preakness, the second leg. All three legs were so important. That's when people were tuned in and watching our sport, looking for the next Triple Crown winner. For me, I felt like I had to be there and compete and see if we could win that race because it's a very important, very historic, traditional race.”

Does Baffert think the spacing of the Triple Crown races should be changed? He does not.

“I'm a traditionalist,” he said. “I think it gives it more meaning if you do win the Triple Crown. I'm not saying this because I've already won the Triple Crown. I know how hard it is. If you changed the spacing, the races would be more spaced out and you'd probably have more Triple Crown winners if they had more time between races. It might be easier. Now, you need a superior horse to win the Triple Crown and that's what the Triple Crown is all about. I finally won it. But I went in with two superior horses.”

In our breeding spotlight section we took a look at the Coolmore stallion Corniche and the WinStar stallion Two Phil's.

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders' Association, Coolmore, 1/ST Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds, WinStar, and XBTV.com, the team of Randy Moss, Bill Finley and Zoe Cadman gave their thoughts on the Preakness and all three selected Muth. That the stewards fined Tyler Gaffalione $2,500 for his ride on Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) in the Derby was a major topic of discussion with Moss saying that all stewards at all tracks need to be much more transparent and announce their reasonings for making the call they did. The Royal Palm races at Gulfstream, which are preps for the Royal Ascot meeting, produced an ultra-impressive winner in Bullet (War Front) for our sponsor Len and Jon Green's D.J. Stable. It's time to pick out your top hat and tails, Jon and Len.

To view the podcast, click here. For the audio-only version, click here.

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