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Legendary horse racing trainer Bob Baffert returns to Baltimore and Pimlico with two horses and crack at ninth Preakness win. Will Muth or Imagination win the 149th running of the second leg of the Triple Crown at Old Hilltop on Saturday? Baffert makes his annual stop on Nestor’s show from California for an update on his stable and situation after not being allowed to run for the roses in Kentucky.


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Nestor J. Aparicio, Bob Baffert

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Oh, we are wn st Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive it is Preakness week here. Luke’s gonna be at the ballpark we had NFL schedules all this stuff going on, but I don’t want to waste any time but before I bring Bob Afro on here I need to say that we have moved the world famous annual crab Derby and these are not mechanical crabs. These are real crabs. Despite what Peter will tell you. We’re gonna be collecting the market plaza on Friday before the Orioles game also gonna be giving away the Pac Man scratch also in the Maryland lottery thanks to our friends at Liberty pure and Jiffy Lube multi care. Bob Baffert is a returning champion to this program. I’ve been doing Bob, I think he’s chasing his first or second Preakness here. I’m working on like Preakness 38. For me, I think even though it’s 149 Bob is coming in with a favorite that didn’t win the Derby, which makes it even more fun. It’s always fun because Bob’s gonna be here, Bob, welcome home. You’re not here yet. But I know. This feels like a second home when you get off the plane at BWI. Right.


Bob Baffert  00:56

Well, thanks for having me on. You’re not We go way back. We’ve been doing this and you brought me a lot of luck. And I’m looking forward to the crabcake time so

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:06

let me tell you, you lost the Preakness

Bob Baffert  01:09

I’ve lost more than one and I was

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:12


it at that point that you weren’t giving me any props on that before? How are you? How’s your house how you feel? And it’s been a little while we haven’t had you on obviously the Churchill thing get to that but like, how you doing what version of Bob Baffert, we’re gonna get here this week. I’m,

Bob Baffert  01:26

I’m pretty, I’m looking forward to it. I’m pretty excited about it. It’s gonna be a actually it’s gonna be a very good Preakness. It’s a very competitive field. And you know, anytime you have the Derby winner in there, it makes it it makes it really exciting. And it was. So I’m coming in there with two good horses. You know, most is coming off a big win and the Arkansas Derby imagination just missed in the Santa Anita Derby and he’s a horse, it’s improving. And so we had the great Frankie Dettori autumn who has been you know, one of the probably top 10 greatest jockeys ever in the history of the sport is riding him so he brings a lot to the party. But for

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:12

you it’s got to be weird to watch the derby on TV to start with but then this race happens and its Nose Nose Nose and it becomes this kind of race that on the I need to ask you just about that kind of a race being involved in that and seeing it on a Derby Day and now you’re looking to go beat that horse

Bob Baffert  02:30

I mean, the derby it was very exciting race I mean for those horses digital out, coming down you know dueling the stretch it looked like mystic Daniel just gonna win by three or I mean, he didn’t look like he was gone. And as the Forever Young the horse from jet Japan, he ran a just a really big race. And then Sierra Leone, he just came so unlucky to just come in either one more jump. And it was a thrilling finish for such a big race for 20 horse to have that kind of a thrilling finish. It’s been here since I think I’m the last really finish when I got nailed on the wire with Kevin here.


Nestor J. Aparicio  03:08

Well, we don’t talk about the losses I brought you good luck on the wins. I’m just gonna I should have just taken that role with Bob Baffert is our guest he’ll be in this week with two horses. alibi breakfast, half the tracks condemned. We’ve been talking about this forever and ever and ever for your love of Baltimore. Where are we going to save the race? We’re going to heal the race, all of that. Bob, I’ve spent the last month now with everybody from David Richardson here with the horsemen and Alan Forman in the state of Maryland. I’m going to have the governor on, I think we finally think have this thing in order. I think you’ll come here five years from now God willing, with a horse or three. And there’ll be a whole new thing here. And I know, from my perspective, that’s exciting being the Baltimore guy, but for the guy that you know, has Preakness and American Pharoah behind you and all of that you want to see this get better too.

Bob Baffert  03:54

Well, I think it’s very important because it’s historic, its historic track. For one, the greatest horses have ever competed in racing have competed in a in Pimlico in the pregnant. You know, going back to the Secretariat, you know, Sunday silence all the great horses that came through through Pimlico, and there’s a lot of history there a lot of tradition. And we have to keep that alive to keep this that’s what makes the the Triple Crown races so important because it’s when people are probably we probably have more eyeballs during the classics, and we do any other time of the year.

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:31

Well, and then we have these classics, and there’s been questions about two weeks and running horses and just the fact that can we pick wins this race and we’re questioning is the horse going to come back? Is there going to be a Derby winner the Preakness and I go back to spend a buck and I was given a picture already a hard time for the 40th year in a row here. We were colleagues 40 years ago here at the news American he ran off the Philly after spend a buck. I said we never gotten back. He never came back to Baltimore. And we’ve had a couple of years where that’s been the case. yours, you’ve been a guide, it’s taken advantage of that some of yours you’ve won the Derby and brought the horse in that decision for you, on behalf of the horse on behalf of ownership on behalf of the value of these horses in the humane part of doing this, where are you if you were God, if you get made racing Commissioner Bob Baffert and a consolidated effort years from now, what would be perfect for these races?

Bob Baffert  05:23


Well, I think, you know, I’m a traditionalist. So when I came into the sport, you know, the, you know, the Derby, the Preakness, and Belmont, they were still, they were still way up there in and all of a sudden, and the last, probably eight or 10 years it it started, you know, that we were losing the horses were skipping, because, you know, when you have 20 horses running the Kentucky Derby, a lot of them, half of them, you know, they get wiped out, they get bumped around, they get knocked around and, and just getting to the derbies tough, you know, with all the preparations and everything. And so then it takes you about a week to get over that ass kicking. Okay, that’s the putt. I remember looking at Lucky, there was no way he was the favorite for the derby got completely wiped out, hit the fence to hit the rail and stretch and it was just terrible race for him. And I was not going to bring it into pregnancy with pretty he was tired, he was knocked out and, and it took him about five, six days. And all of a sudden, he was back to himself, you know, and so we decided to run him and, and he wins a pregnant. So a lot of horses, you know, come out of it in different ways, you know, so they’re tougher. And so, you know, they say has the breed change? I don’t think the breed has changed. That’s your, I think, the trainer’s nowadays, you know, like, you know, you see analytics thrown around. Baseball guys changed everything, right. And I think it’s changed horse racing, because a lot of these trainers feel like, you know, well, if I give this horse extra time, he’s going to come back and perform better. Well, which is true. So if it, you know, somebody asked me that they what if they? What if they made it, you know, every 30 days, you know, they’re thinking about making it extended? Give it three weeks or 30 days and, and for the Belmont? You think it would be tougher or easier? And I think it would probably be easier. And

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:28

it would have to be easier on the horse. Right? And yeah, easier

Bob Baffert  07:30

on the horse. And it would be probably would have had more Triple Crown winners in the past if they did that, you know, and so, so you’re, you’re, you’re given up two things, the Triple Crown is there’s only been a few winners, because I’ve been through it five times, you needed a superior horse to win it superior,

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:51

and there’s one over your shoulder, they’re American, American


Bob Baffert  07:54

Pharoah, I mean, and then justify just superior, they’re just, they’re just, they’re just, they’re better than all the rest of the thrill of that crop. And so, you know, you’re gonna lose that aspect of it. But if that’s what it takes, to keep it to keep it going, you know, that’s what you want. But I really feel that the, the, I think you’re going to lose, you have a captive audience, when you have it within two weeks. Because people you know, very, you know, we have so many sports going on now. Back in the day, you know, horse racing was a big thing. And, and so now we have so many sports going on now. You’re

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:37

wearing Dodger gear on my Baltimore, you know, my station here, you know, so you and I gotta get a Dodger dog in a beer at Dodgers they know better place at Dodger stadium to watch a ballgame. So that’s always welcome. But Bob, let me ask you this, because I you know, and I joke we’re doing this crab Derby with real crabs here, because we’re in Maryland, it scrubs or the PETA people have called and said that they want us to use mechanical craps, right, like so. We can chuckle at that or whatever. But it’s not a laughing matter in your industry where humane equine all of the issues that humans would have with animals. And then yet I talked to you year after year for almost 30 years. Now you and I go at this. And I can’t think of anybody that can love an animal more than you love the animals even though you eat off the animals and try to make these animals comfortable, happy and bred the run. But you talk about a horse having a rough trip and your conscience and I was going to ask you and you’re like, the horse wasn’t himself bounced back and I’m thinking what can I ask Bob Baffert about knowing when a horse feels good or not? I mean, you have a gift for that obviously over the course of time a study of that, that I can never begin to understand like understanding these horses in the way that you live with him every day.

Bob Baffert  09:46

Well, it’s a lot about his body language experience being around them and they will tip you off when they’re starting to come back to their you know, your we wear them every day. We We watch him train, we watch them, you watch the way they eat, you’ll always hear trainers say, hey, the next day Oh, he ate up well, what is well, of course he ate, he fed his oats he ate, you know, but But it means is that if you as a human being, if you’re stressed out, and you’re not hungry and you don’t you skip dinner or something, that means you’re not in a good frame of mind. Right? So horses, that’s how they tip us off, if they don’t eat their grain or something, something is, you know, they’re not in a great in a great frame of mind. So, we, we see those signals and we work off for that we wait we give them time, until they get back into their, their regular normal well being the way they act, that’s when we know we can continue on with them. You know,

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:48


I was amazed my wife battled leukemia 10 years ago at science and taking her blood and knowing every, every single molecule of everything to heal her. And I think in your industry, I think about baseball, they measure everything and, you know, spin rate analytics launched in your industry, how much has that, that accountability that you’ve been through, and we can talk about with churches, but all of that, but the cameras on the animals knowing what the animals really studying the animals 24 hours a day, in the same way the football players want their football players to get to the field, I would think your your industry has just changed dramatically from the beginning of what you used to think you know about a horse until what you now scientifically can know about how the horse is doing right now.

Bob Baffert  11:32

Yeah, I mean, we’ve changed a lot with diagnostics, we have all these machines, now we can detect things before they can happen. So we’re constantly scanning these horses, it’s really it’s really come around, and we didn’t have it before. And you’re you’re gonna see you know, it’s easier because if you feel sometimes if your horses and train, well, well, we’ll put them to different tasks we can, you know, before we could just X ray them, and sometimes X ray won’t show it. So you put them you scan them and and you can pick up little things that that prevent them, you know, so we’ve come a long way. What has

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:11

to happen this week for you to win the race and coming in as a favorite than trying to take down the Derby winner and I know that’s a good roll for you the black hat and the knife, Preakness so for you to come in here Baltimore with the sunglasses on.

Bob Baffert  12:23

Well, it’s exciting to be able to have a horse this caliber to come in there, you know, we’re, we’re coming across there. They’re good horses, and I’m excited about them. And this is what we our program is all about the young horses and getting into the big races the to be on the big stage. And the client tell there they get it’s going to be and this year, particularly it’s a really strong race. I think it’s it’s very competitive. And there’s some other good horses in there. We’ve got you know, Chad browns, bringing one Brad Cox is tough. He’s Lucas is there, Lucas? He’s still here, you know, and he’s still tough. And so it’s it’s good to see the guy. Kenny McPeak who beat me a couple years with a Philly he’s always tough. So, it’s like, we’re getting the old band back together.


Nestor J. Aparicio  13:14

I said to digerati early to make it like where’s Nikki Zito, let’s bring everybody everybody back in here, again. But there is something for all of the names you named who are your colleagues in the business, and you’re the ones that speak much more so than even the jockeys and certainly more than the horses, but the stars of the sport of what you’re clearly one of that you really love coming to Baltimore, and it’s not about purses and money, and the biggest this are the best that or whatever you love this part of the pageantry, all of you do and all of you have had success here. And all of you come to my town and you speak so highly of it, and your love of coming. And we haven’t even given you all a good ride yet, you know, with a great building. And I see what they’ve done a church and with a paddock and this and that. And I’m thinking that’s all coming here. But part of it is when you come in here, you speak good about our town, and we’re appreciative of all of you, if you you come here and you show up and you say awesome things when you leave that that is not always the case for my town, Bob.

Bob Baffert  14:11

Well, I mean, we were treated like royalty when we get there the horses are. And we’re all in the same bar together. So it’s exciting. And it’s the only place where you go, even if you get beat you leave here like wow, it was time. You know, so, you know, we got beat up but we had fun and we’re gonna come back. And so it’s an out to me, it’s the second leg. It’s probably the funnest of all of them because you know the pressure of the, you know, the Derby, the lead up to the Derby, everybody’s you know, to get there under stress. And then once you have the Derby winner and you bring in it’s all about the Derby winner, we’re watching them and you get to look at them closely there and you see all the horses and in the barn, and you get to talk to everybody and it’s like whenever Everybody’s together. Usually we don’t. Like if you go to the Belmont and you don’t see other trainers, you’re different in different barns, whatever, we’re all there together, you know and so it’s, it’s, it’s like being at at the Pro Bowl, you know, communal,

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:16

it’s communal I, you know, I wait, do you not eat crabs like actual crabs or just crab cake? I’m trying to understand I know you don’t want to crab cakes. We’ve been through this. But if you put a mallet on a crab and your your time here,

Bob Baffert  15:32


not basically crab cakes when I go there, I just I just crabcake

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:38

like, bah, bah, bah, you’re, you’re in a time Preakness champion, it’s time that we get you over to cost this intraspinal. Especially if you lose, if you lose, there’s some therapeutic part of that you can that you can use this for. But you know.

Bob Baffert  15:54

I did. I went I went I did. Went to a crab place where it was, I forget the name of the restaurant, but there was a horse

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:02

trainer. You already have dirty hands. You’ve already gotten it. Most people can’t get past the dirty hand part. You know?


Bob Baffert  16:10

It’s probably the place you’re talking about.

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:14

It in here settled? Is there anything you want to say about Churchill on the way out the door? I mean, you talk about the Derby, and you’ve been in that spotlight. You want to win the derby? Again, I think I want to see you everybody in the industry wants to see you compete again. Do you have anything to say just on the way I guess? I hope you’re back in the race next year. I hope this thing is on the up and up for you.

Bob Baffert  16:33

I mean, we’re you know, we’re totally committed to you know, finding a resolution with Churchill Downs that I’m hoping, hoping to be back, you know, because it’s a great race. And it was it was fun watching it. And so during the Kentucky Derby is very important to our our industry.

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:48


Well, the roses look nice with your hair these days, the red rose, so we’ll try to make that happen. But you’re gonna look at black eyed Susans in here this week, Preakness Stakes, the Woodlawn vase, I took a picture with that the other day at the post position draw. Bob Africa is an eighth time champion at a champion of my hometown of Baltimore. He comes in every year strive to steal this race, got two horses this week, a great field and the 140/9 running of the Preakness Stakes, get on out and support the racer this week, Bob, appreciate you always all these years. You’ve been great to me and I left you out of the 25th anniversary documentary and Eddie Frank, if it gave me a foot up my ass, he said, How could you not put a picture of you in Baffert in the documentary so I’m apologizing to you personally.

Bob Baffert  17:29

All right. Well, thanks for having me. And we’ll see you. We’ll see you this weekend.

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:33

Thanks for turning the cameras on let us see American Pharoah there. I appreciate you Bob Baffert, a champion back in Baltimore this weekend eating crab cakes and maybe sometimes crabs with a mallet. I’m Nestor. We are wn St. am 1570, Towson Baltimore, and we never stop talking. Baltimore positive

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