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Breeders' Cup 2017

Baffert Reflects on Disappointing BC Results

Bob Baffert
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who had high hopes and 10 horses to run in the two-day Breeders’ Cup events, was an 0-fer for the weekend, but still managed to smile and put a philosophical turn to things Sunday morning at Clockers’ Corner.

“When expectations are high – really high like they were for us – the dropoff is hard,” he stated as he stood in the company of his 7-year-old son Bode and watched a string of his horses gallop by. “But what are you going to do? You forget, you learn as much as you can from it all and then you go on.”

In classic Baffert fashion, he even got a good wisecrack in.

“At least I got home in 10 minutes after the races,” he said. “I didn’t have to wait around for any ceremonies or anything like that.”

Did the trainer see any sort of key, or pattern, to what happened to his horses?

“They all got beat in the first quarter-mile,” he offered. “It was all about position. If you don’t get position, you are in trouble. And none of my horses seemed to get that.

“Game On Dude was a good example of that. The rider wasn’t aggressive in getting a spot for him early and he was done. He’s a one-dimensional horse and he’s got to be near the front.  I told him you better not let them come over on you or you’ll be in trouble, and that’s what they did. When that horse can’t be near the front, that’s it for him. Funny how that works with one like him, but that’s how it is.

“You know, I was in the paddock before the race and I was looking at all those other horses and they knocked me out. And there were some really serious horses in that field; some really good lookers and some really good runners. That Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man, they’re good horses. Game On Dude hasn’t been running against horses like that.

“I went back up to our box and I said out loud that there were some really good horses in the race and that I was worried. So right after that the TV guys come around and they ask Bode who he likes in the race. So, he’d heard me and he says ‘There’s some really good horses in this race.’ We had to whisper in his ear to say Game On Dude.”

Was Game On Dude’s performance his biggest disappointment of the weekend?

“I was really disappointed in the efforts of three of my horses,” Baffert said. “Game On Dude for sure. And Executiveprivilege – I thought she’d win. But maybe the biggest of all was Power Broker. That was a huge disappointment. He was outside (post 9 in a nine-horse field) to start but I thought he’d be up close. He was eight wide all the way. And he never switched leads. He’s still green.

“But we learned a lot from the race and it will help us down the line. His race was just like Point Given’s Derby (when he disappointed as the favorite in 2001). He’ll be fine, though. He’s a good horse. He’s just got to be ridden differently. And I’ve got to salute (Juvenile winner) Shanghai Bobby. I saw him with his ears up turning for home, waiting on horses. He’s a nice horse for sure.”

Baffert was asked to name the most impressive horse he saw all weekend.

“(Mile winner) Wise Dan,” he said without hesitation. “What a horse he is. He’s a star. I saw him in the paddock and I said, ‘Oh, man, I’m glad they’re not running him in the Classic.’ If I had a vote, I’d vote for him for Horse of the Year.”

The trainer stated that none of his runners had bled and that he’d had them all scoped to be sure. “Sometimes you might see signs of that days later,” he said, “but they’re all fine for now.”

Baffert also noted that his 2yo Super Ninety Nine, who was one of the favorites for Friday’s Juvenile Sprint but never got to run when he cast himself in his stall that morning and was withdrawn, was doing fine. The colt had scrapes on a stifle and his forehead, but did not require stitches of any kind and was recovering well from the ordeal.

“How about that,” Baffert said, “I haven’t had a horse cast in his stall on race day in 15 years and here I have one Friday. It sort of set the tone for my whole weekend. Saturday, I never even got to root for a horse in the stretch. I could have stayed home and watched it all on TV.”

The trainer concluded that future plans for all his horses were up in the air for the time being.

“I need some time to let this all settle,” he said. “It takes a while to take it all in. It’s been a big weekend and there are lots of things to think about. They’ll all have other days and we’ll figure out what they are in the future.”



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Older Comments about Baffert Reflects on Disappointing BC Results...

Baffert at home watching replys of the BC..."Damn, I've done it all pretty much except win the TC and the Classic...perhaps its time for career change - Elect Baffert 2014 CA Governor. YES!!!...Honey..."
^prominent. As for Bobby the horse was spent. You can live in your little land of denile all you want.
I never said I worked with the horses for a living. . I have worked with them in the past, and help when I can. I know for a fact, that I have several promiant horse men than would back me up.I don't need your stamp of approval.
Southern...you're cracking me up. If you've ride horses coming out of the gate and you couldn't understand what was going on with Shanghai Bobby then I sure hope you have a backup plan other than riding horses.
Bejarano currently owns the 6F track record at SA aboard The Factor(1.06 4/5) at the end of the horses 2 yr. campaign. Fast track, nonetheless, so he doesn't know how to break out of the gate, nowadays - ta. How many of you ride bashers had their $$$ on G.O.D??? If he takes to the front in a similar fashion Chantal did in the Pacific Classic, G.O.D is STILL done for. Get it, yet?
^Think about at the gate is the jockey. My post got chopped up:/
Have you even been on a horse coming out of a gate , because I have. I can promise you, that the animal is going to do what ever HE/SHE wants to coming out. The last thing on earth the horse is thinking about at that makes the jockey ineffective. Which is why we continuely see horses that break well from the gate, and those that do not. The gate was designed to give no rider an advantage from the start - and it does just that.
THANK YOU ZXSWORDXZ! For newbies who just got into racing that is a FANTASTIC EXAMPLE. Johnny V simply gave Rags a little tap on the shoulder, to get him to the rail and within reasonable position closer to the leaders, so he wasn't SO far out like he was in the KY Derby. After the race, they SHOWED JOHNNY V TAP HIM, on video. I'm paraphrasing the announcer, they were looking at his break and they said something like: " See here, John just gave him a tap on the shoulder. JUST TO GET INVOLVED."
BTW...Southern.Humor- I guess Baffert is wrong on Shanghai Bobby "I saw him with his ears up turning for home, waiting on horses".
I'm with rafirox, Jockey can make a difference in the start too. Example, Union Rags same f%$&king horse ran in the Belmont. Didn't he break better than he did in the Derby? If you're aggressive with a horse, he/she will respond but there are some exception.
BTW, On my first comment, Icy, that is why I capitalized CAN. They CAN control how they come out. I didn't ssay they DO control them coming out.
I know some horses are naturally good gate horses, (Mainly Speed Horses.) But I do know for a fact by eye that certain jocks an get their horses hustled out, only a few. Like RAJIV MARAGH AND PAT V. Nowadays, many trainers, owner, and jockeys don't use that strategy. Back in the olden days, horses were often WHIPPED out of the gate. If you don't believe me, watch Seabiscuit online. And I have read books and articles that suggest that was a very popular strategy. I can assure you, no horse is WHIPPED out of the gate, but msny are HUSTLED out.
rafirox, I would suggest you look at some U-Tube clips of Ruffian and Rach Alexandra. No horse ever best them out of the gate of any gender. That initial burst they both had was worth 2/3 lengths. Then watch all of Fort Larned's he wasn't beaten out of the gate either. Unfortunately GOD was in with him and Fort Larned took him out of his game, which is how you win in any field of endeavor.
^^^^^ In the beggining when I said Rafael did, I meant if he DID hustle him and tell him to go for the lead despte the slow start.
Southern Humor, jocks CAN control how they come out. For example, RAJIV MARAGH is FANTASTIC at hustling his horses out of the gate, he is fantastic at getting early positioning. So, Rafael, COULD HAVE got him to the lead after his slow start, but if he did Dude didn't respond, and if he didn't that is why the Dude wasn't on the lead. Southern Humor, those last statements are a absolute joke right????? 1st of all, the horse does not carry 99 percent of the blame. 2nd of all: So, if the trainer and owner sent him in a TOO HARD AND CLASSY race for him, where would you have put the dude BC day? So, according to your logic, Seabiscuit's HORRENDOUS two year old year was 99 percent his fault? NO. It was improper training that made him a loser, until great horsemen Tom Smith took over, then Seabiscuit was an unheard of champion. Almost your you entire post is FALSE statements.
^ what took you so long to get here^
Laffit Pincay; "The horse owns the first fraction and we cannot control that."
^ comes. Matters.
^ You do know that the jocky has absolutly no control of how the horse come out of the gate right? No mtter what they do the horse is going to do what he wants to coming out. I think the horse just gave out on him. Stop blaming the Jockey for something he had no control over. If he had made a mistake in the stretch than perhaps some of the blame could be placed on RB. As it is, I think 99% of the blame just goes to the horse. The only chance he had was breaking from the gate well, and he didn't. The other 1 % goes to the trainers/ owner for putting a horse in the race that was highly over classed.
Blaming the jock is about the weakest excuse the game has ever seen. Rafael had nothing to do with Baffert's poor preparation of GOD and all the other losers. Mucho Macho Man stands about 17hands/1200lbs vs. Game on Dude 15.2 not 1200 who had hardly faced competition this year aside from Dubai and if you consider Dullahan's synthetic BS...People just can't admit that he was more than obviously out-classed in the Classic. Why hasn't anyone put the blame Talamo for not sending Fed Biz. Bejarano won on Fed Biz before, and was sent early. These are ridiculous accustions, and they are doing nothing more than bashing a great rider. I just spent all weekend with Jerry Truman(former jockey late 50's, brother to Eddie Truman(trainer), and Jerry spot on said Rafael is a great rider, and a gentleman, which is why he is where he is. So again, NONE OF BAFFERTS HORSES RAN UP TO PAR! Quit blaming the jock. Garcia v RB...sure, choose the excessive whipper over the calm and collected cool hands - u're a fn joke!

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