Bob Baffert would cement legacy with second Triple Crown winner

May 24, 2018 08:47pm

Think about the greatest of all time...

In football, it's Tom Brady. In basketball, there's Micheal Jordan. Baseball has Babe Ruth, and hockey Wayne Gretzky.

In horse racing, there can be one name we can call the greatest, and I believe that title belongs to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Justify can further prove it should he win the 2018 Belmont Stakes.

Baffert has trained many Grade 1 winners over his hall of fame career, from the likes of Silver Charm, to Point Given and to American Phaorah. But for someone to train two Triple Crown winners in a four-year span, long after it looked like we may never have another again, is a very rare and extraordinary achievement.

What else makes Bob Baffert the greatest trainer of all time? Consider these facts: 

Not only does Bob Baffert have a chance to win a second Triple Crown, but he is a separate half length, a nose, and a bad stumble away from training a possible five of them. Since 1996 -- 22 years -- Baffert has trained six horses to win at least two legs of the Triple Crown series. They were Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Point Given, War Emblem, American Pharoah, and now Justify. Five of them won the first two legs of the American classics.

Baffert has won 14 Triple Crown races, tied for most all time with D. Wayne Lukas. With his Kentucky Derby winners, Baffert has never lost the Preakness. Throughout his career, Bob Baffert has trained a remarkable 25 different horse to win or hit the board in all three Triple Crown races. Safe to say, when Baffert makes it to the Derby, their chances of hitting the board are high.

Baffert's five Kentucky Derby victories rank second most all-time. His seven Preakness wins are tied for the most all-time. He could make it two Belmont wins on June 9. If he wins another Triple Crown, Baffert and Sunny "Jim" Fitzsimmons would rank as the only two to train multiple Triple Crown winners. Fitzsimmons did it with
Gallant Fox and his son, Omaha, in 1930 and 1935, respectively. 

Outside of the Triple Crown, Baffert has trained more than 30 Grade 1 winners and more than 25 millionaires.  He has trained 14 Breeders' Cup winners, second-most all-time behind Lukas. He has won four Eclipse Awards for outstanding trainer. 

If Justify wins the Belmont Stakes, Baffert will have accomplished a completely new feat: training a Triple Crown winner who never raced as a 2-year-old. This would truly showcase his skill. Justify started in a sprint, and stretched out during a compact but well-planned campaign that has him on the precipice of becoming just the 13th Triple Crown winner.

A good trainer wins big races. A great trainer wins big races year after year after year.

Bob Baffert is a great trainer.

On June 9, racing fans may along with a Triple Crown witness the coronation of Bob Baffert as the greatest thoroughbred trainer of all time.


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Meet Jeff Brynes

I have loved this sport since my early childhood. My first true memory was when my grandfather took me to Saratoga for the 2005 Travers Stakes, and watching Flower Alley come down the stretch to duel with Bellamy Road. I'll never forget that day, the roar of the crowd, and the pure excitement of winning. I became an instant fan of the game. Since then, I've visited many tracks, among them Monmouth Park, Saratoga Harness, Freehold Raceway, Belmont Park, and the Meadowlands -- all in the New York / New Jersey area. 

Of all the horses I've seen in my lifetime, none have captured my imagination like Curlin. The two time Horse of the Year is, and will always be, my all-time favorite horse. Other favorites include Rachel Alexandra, Medaglia D'Oro, Wise Dan and American Pharaoh.

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