Top Kentucky Derby Trainers – Bob Baffert
No discussion of top trainers would be complete without mentioning the legendary Bob Baffert. He’s been in the training game since the early 90’s, and over the past 20 years, has built up a solid track record for training some of the fastest horses to hit the races.
With three Kentucky Derby, five Preakness Stakes, one Belmont Stakes and two Kentucky Oaks victories under his belt (among many other graded stakes wins), it’s no secret that this hall-of-famer has what it takes to produce thoroughbred champions worth betting on. Kentucky Derby’s event last year didn’t feature any of Baffert’s trainees but he’s gearing up to secure another Derby win this year with two Kentucky Derby contenders hoping to take Churchill Downs by storm.
Though Baffert initially began his career in horseracing as a jockey, his build got in the way of things. Unable to maintain the required weight, he switched over to training – what would prove to be a wise move on his part – and made his big debut in 1992 when he guided Thirty Slews to victory in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Baffert won his first Kentucky Derby in 1997 with Silver Charm, who also went on to land him his first Preakness Stakes win a few weeks later. The year after, Real Quiet won the same two races, making Baffert the first trainer ever to win these two events in back-to-back years. Baffert saw his third Kentucky Derby win in 2002 with War Emblem, who also went on to win that year’s Preakness Stakes.
For those keeping count for their Kentucky Derby betting strategies, Baffert has received numerous accolades for his outstanding training efforts over the years. He nabbed the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer three years in a row from 1997 through to 1999; the Big Sport of Turfdom Award in 1997; and was named the United States Champion Trainer by Earnings from 1998 through to 2001. It came as no surprise that Baffert was inducted into the US Racing Hall of Fame in 2009.
If we were to list all of the many awards, titles and victories this horse whisperer of sorts has racked up over the years, we’d be here for days, so let’s move on to the matter at hand. Though more than 10 years have passed since Baffert’s last Kentucky Derby win, he’s got two horses in the running with some serious showstopper potential. The first is Chitu, who stood undefeated in first two starts going on 6 furlongs last December, only to finish a close second to Candy Boy at the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) in early February. He shows promise and with a couple more runs under his belt, could very possibly make it into the running.
Midnight Hawk is Baffert’s other hopeful, who impressively broke his maiden at Betfair last December and went on to secure his first graded stakes win at the Sham Stakes (G3) a month later. Despite finishing third in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, this colt’s collected his fair share of points, making him a favorite amongst all the possible Kentucky Derby contenders.
With the Road to the Kentucky Derby well underway, all we can do is wait and see whether Baffert’s colts beat the Kentucky Derby odds and secure their positions at the starting gate at Churchill Downs come May, and help him nail his fourth Derby win.