Tuesday, September 1, 2009
An introduction is hardly necessary for Bob Baffert. One of the most successful trainers in the history of horse racing, Baffert was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame on August 14, along with Silverbulletday, the champion filly he trained.
Baffert is a three-time winner of the Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer and has compiled seven Breeders’ Cup wins and eight victories in Triple Crown races. He has campaigned an astonishing roster of racing's superstars, including Eclipse Award champions Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Silverbulletday, Chilukki, Point Given, Vindication, War Emblem, Indian Blessing, and Midnight Lute.
The fourth of seven children, Baffert was born in Nogales, Arizona and grew up on his family’s cattle ranch. He got his start with horses at a very young age, grooming and galloping Quarter Horses owned by his father. After graduating from high school in 1971, he spent a year pursuing his dream of becoming a jockey, winning 30 races. He then attended the University of Arizona, graduating from the Racetrack Industry Program with a Bachelor of Science degree.
He began his training career with Quarter Horses and trained four Quarter Horse champions including Gold Coast Express. He made the transition to Thoroughbreds in the late 1980s, in large part due to the encouragement of owners Mike Pegram and Hal Earnhardt.
Baffert currently resides in Arcadia, Calif., along with his wife, Jill, a former news anchor at WLKY-32 in Louisville. He is the father of five children: Taylor, Canyon, Forest, Savannah and Bode.
In addition to his many accomplishments as a trainer, Baffert has done much to help the sport of racing. In 1997, he received the Mr. Fitz Award from the National Turf Writers Association, an award presented annually to an individual or group for typifying the spirit of racing. In 1998, he received the Big Sport of Turfdom Award from the Turf Publicists of America. This annual award goes to a person or group who enhances coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with the media and racing publicists.
In this special Trainer Snapshot video interview, Baffert talks about the emotional experience of receiving Hall of Fame honors and reflects on his life and career.