Legendary trainer Bob Baffert has worked with a lot of top horses over his career, but he sees something special in Justify. It is high praise from someone who has won 13 American Classics, and led American Pharoah to a Triple Crown in 2015.
“Like that guy we heard on the newsreel about Man o’ War, the essential of a good horse is speed,” Baffert told ESPN. “And the main ingredient is more speed, and that’s what he has. We saw that.”
After Baffert’s Triple Crown victory, every horse gets compared to American Pharoah. Baffert has not done much to squash the hype, noting there is reason to think Justify could join him in the history books.
“What they have in common is they’re both superior horses, so there is wiggle room,” Baffert explained to The New York Post.
Learn more about Justify’s trainer, and one of the best in horse racing history.
1. Baffert Has a Net Worth of $10 Million
Horse racing has been a very lucrative business for Baffert as one of the best trainers in the industry. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Baffert has a net worth of $10 million. The Richest’s estimate is a little lower at $5 million. According to America’s Best Racing, Baffert has been part of 2,842 wins, and earned $274.9 million over his career. Baffert has had 6,713 top three finishes as a trainer.
Thanks to his track record, Baffert often trains horses that come from top pedigrees, making them favorites heading into the American Classics. Baffert admits he prefers to be a favorite, rather than a dark horse.
“I like being the favorite,” Baffert explained to the Courier-Journal. “I don’t like being 50-1. I like knowing I have a chance to win it. When you come in thinking that you’re going to need the Stanford marching band to interfere with it, you don’t feel that well. When you know there’s a chance to pull this off … that’s what it’s all about.”
2. Jill Baffert, Bob’s Wife, Is a Former TV Anchor Who Also Worked a Second Job as a Waitress
Like her husband, Jill Baffert is no stranger to hard work. According to the Columbia Daily Herald, she graduated from Middle Tennessee State, and accepted a television job in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. She also picked up shifts as a waitress to earn extra money.
“I was doing everything in Hopkinsville, reporting, anchoring and producing,” Jill Baffert told the Columbia Daily Herald. “I was a waitress to make extra money, not as much as when I was in high school and college, but whenever I could. I was driven and determined to make it in television, but I kept coming back to Centerville every chance I got.”
The Bafferts first met in 1998 when Jill Baffert was hosting a local sports show on the Kentucky Derby. Baffert was married to his first wife at the time, and would later marry Jill Baffert in 2002.
The couple has one son together, 13-year-old Bode. Baffert has the following four children from his previous marriage: Taylor, Canyon, Savannah and Forest.
3. Baffert Trained 2015 Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah
Baffert added a Triple Crown to his resume after American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 2015. Baffert spoke to the Baltimore Sun about the Triple Crown experience in a 2016 interview.
“People keep saying thank you for that horse last year, because he made everybody feel so good about themselves just watching him,” Baffert told the Baltimore Sun. “ I think Pharoah, being the kind, gentle [horse], I got to share him, people touching him and getting close to him. It was very rare.”
4. Baffert Calls Justify One of the “Most Beautiful 3-Year Olds” He Has Trained
Baffert won the fifth Kentucky Derby of his career in 2018 thanks to Justify. Baffert notes that Justify looks the part of some of the special horses he has worked with.
“He’s probably the most beautiful 3-year-old,” Baffert told Blood Horse. “When you see him, he’ll catch your eye on the track. He’s just a grand-looking animal. He’s one of the most attractive 3-year-olds you’ll ever see. He’s just a standout conformation wise.”
Justify comes from a large ownership group with four main partners: China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm. Justify was purchased for $500,000 by WinStar and China Horse Club. Now, the ownership group is larger, meaning there are a lot more people who have a stake in the team. Baffert noted it has not complicated his job at all.
“There’s a point man, and it’s Elliott, so I just basically talk to [WinStar president and CEO Elliott Walden], and he talks to everyone else,” Baffert explained to The Baltimore Sun. “It’s pretty easy and simple, really. I just tell him the way it is, and he understands everything. We have mutual respect.”
5. Baffert Believes Justify is a “Superior Horse” to Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah
Justify has a long way to go before he can win the Triple Crown, but Baffert already thinks Justify is a better horse than American Pharoah was at this stage of his racing career. Justify entered the Triple Crown season with less experience given the horse did not race as a two-year-old.
“He’s a superior horse, and he’s come really quick,” Baffert told TMZ. “He’s done it a little bit quicker than Pharoah.”
In 2015, American Pharoah became the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years since Affirmed won it in 1978. If Justify wins in 2018, it would be a much quicker turnaround in the record books. Justify already made history by becoming the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old since Apollo pulled it off in 1882.
Source: Heavy Sports