How many more big wins for Baffert? Experts answer

How many more big wins for Baffert? Experts answer
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Authentic’s victory in the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday allowed trainer Bob Baffert to tie Ben Jones for the most Derby wins in history with six, two of which led off Triple Crown sweeps. Tom Pedulla surveyed major figures in the horse racing industry, including the legendary 67-year-old conditioner, about whether he can add to those extraordinary totals.

Bob Baffert

DERBY: All I know is I’m two behind Bill Belichick (eight Super Bowl wins) and he’s my idol as a football coach. I’d like to catch up to Bill Belichick. I hope I have a few more in me. I’m not going to slack off. I’m going to keep the pedal to the metal. 

TRIPLE CROWN: I don’t know about any more Triple Crowns. It’s very hard to find horses like that. Those are just rare, rare, rare. I can’t see it coming for a while.

Jerry Bailey, Hall of Fame jockey, NBC analyst

DERBY: It seems like he’s still in the prime of his training career. He gets results so therefore he attracts the top prospects. I’m going to say one more.

TRIPLE CROWN: It’s hard to imagine you can predict he’ll win another Triple Crown. The Derbies are hard enough to win.

Mark Casse, Hall of Fame trainer

DERBY: Ten to 12, maybe. I like Bob a lot and he’s done a tremendous job, but I’m beginning to think he’s not very good at sharing.

TRIPLE CROWN: One to two. They’re so hard to come by. There’s nobody I’ve seen anywhere like him.

Jason Loutsch, racing manager, Albaugh Family Stables, co-owner of Thousand Words

DERBY: I’m going to say he’s going to train until he’s 75. I’m going to say he’s going to finish with 9 Derby wins.  

TRIPLE CROWN: I don’t think so. It hadn’t been done for so long and all of a sudden we think it’s easy. It’s not easy. Those two (American Pharoah, Justify) were very special. They come around once a century.

Ken McPeek, prominent trainer

DERBY: I think he’ll win a couple more. There are trainers who get a lot of good young horses. I’m one of them. But Bob certainly gets more than most and he’s proven he knows how to get it done. 

TRIPLE CROWN: I don’t think he’ll win another Triple Crown.

Randy Moss, NBC analyst

DERBY: I will say eight Kentucky Derbies. Bob gets the best of the best to train and it seems like in recent years even more high-profile owners are tapping Bob with their promising dirt 2-year-olds. Godolphin, Coolmore, Juddmonte, obviously, with Arrogate, I mean those are arguably the three leading breeding operations in the world and they’ve signed up on the Baffert Express. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him get a couple more.

TRIPLE CROWN: It’s such a difficult accomplishment. It’s hard to imagine someone winning three. Then again, it’s Bob Baffert.

Mike Pegram, long-time Baffert client and friend

DERBY: He’s got six in 23 years. Let’s say he’s got 12 years left (to train). He’s got at least three more in him. Don’t let that gray hair fool you. He’s young at heart. 

TRIPLE CROWN: He’s got at least one more. Those are hard to win and you’ve got to get lucky. He’s come so close so many times. I still say he’s got another one in him, maybe two. He’s definitely got one more in him.

Jay Privman, Daily Racing Form

DERBY: Maybe one more. It’s a hard race to win. He’s had great resources and great people behind him. But things like this can be cyclical in nature. He won three Derbies in a short amount of time and now he’s won three more in a short amount of time. I’m just sort of playing the percentages here. 

TRIPLE CROWN: None. It’s just incredibly hard to pull off. Just because there have been two in the last six seasons of racing, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that there was a 37-year gap until American Pharoah came along.

Jack Wolf, founder of Starlight Racing, part owner of Authentic

DERBY:  Two more. He makes it look easy, but it’s hard to win these things.

TRIPLE CROWN: He’s going to win one more.

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