Bob Baffert is off and running in pursuit of his 11th Santa Anita
training title, which would add to his existing record. The 59-year-old
Hall of Fame conditioner, 25 pounds slimmer since suffering a heart
attack in Dubai last March, has won six races through the first three
days of the 24-day meet that ends on Nov. 4, four in front his closest
He also leads in stakes-winning horses with three, all of which
were ridden by Rafael Bejarano. But that doesn’t mean Baffert keeps all
his eggs in one basket.
“He may not fit every horse that I have,” Baffert said of Bejarano, who has few if any
flaws as a rider and thus is always favored to win the crown at any
Southern California track at which he chooses to make his permanent
“Martin Garcia is back in there, and we also use (Joe) Talamo,”
Baffert said. “They’re young and they ride at a high level day in and
day out, and that’s what you need.
“Bejarano rides a lot of favorites, and that creates extra
pressure, but at the same time, you become somewhat immune to it and
you’re not going to worry about what your odds are. If he gets off one
that might get beat, he gets on another one and he can make it up.
“He came off that spill last Friday and ran second in the first
race he rode for me, and it was my horse that beat him, but the other
horse is a better horse,” Baffert said, speaking of Title Contender and
Code West, the one-two finishers in Saturday’s first race.
“His first winner back was Executiveprivilege and he rode her beautifully.”