Born In: Nogales, Arizona, United States
Bob Baffert is an American racehorse trainer who is known for his two Triple Crown wins and six Kentucky Derby wins. He was born in Arizona and grew up on his family’s ranch. At age 10, Bob started practicing horse racing with the horses his father bought. After studying animal sciences at the University of Arizona, Bob moved to southern Carolina and started training Thoroughbred horses. In 2015, he trained American Pharoah to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. With this, Bob became the second-oldest Triple Crown-winner. In 2018, Bob won another Triple Crown when Justify emerged victorious in the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont races. With Authentic’s win in the 2020 Kentucky Derby, Bob tied with Ben Jones for the most Kentucky Derby wins (six). Bob has won numerous awards and has also donated generous amounts to various charities. He now lives in California with his wife, Jill, and their son.
Also Known As: Robert A. Bob Baffert
Spouse/Ex-: Jill Baffert (m. 2002)
father: Bill Baffert Sr.
mother: Ellie Baffert
children: Bode Baffert, Canyon Baffert, Forest Baffert, Savannah Baffert, Taylor Baffert
Born Country: United States
education: Nogales High School, The University of Arizona
Bob Baffert was born Robert A. Baffert, on January 13, 1953, in Nogales, Arizona, U.S. He grew up on his family’s ranch. His parents raised chicken and cattle on the farm.
When Bob was 10, his father bought a few Quarter Horses. Bob started practicing racing with those horses on a dirt track at the ranch. As a teenager, Bob worked as a jockey for $100 per day in amateur races near Nogales.
He joined the University of Arizona, where he studied animal sciences as part of the university’s Race Track Industry Program. He eventually graduated with a BS degree.
After practicing horse racing on his family’s ranch and at local tracks, in 1970, Bob Baffert began racing on legalized tracks at the age of 17.
After getting married, Bob started training Quarter Horses at a farm in Prescott, Arizona. By the time he was 20, he had made a name for himself as a trainer.
In the 1980s, Bob shifted to southern California and started training Thoroughbred horses at the Los Alamitos Race Course. In fact, in 1988, he bought Thirty Slews, his first Thoroughbred horse.
In 1992, Thirty Slews won Bob his first Breeder's Cup race. Bob became the top money-winning trainer in the U.S. four times.
In 1996, Bob stepped into the American classic races, training a 3-year-old colt named Cavonnier, who ranked second in the Kentucky Derby.
The following year, Bob trained a gray colt named Silver Charm and won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He also ranked second in the Belmont.
In 1998, he trained two colts, Real Quiet and Indian Charlie, to compete in the Derby in Louisville. While Real Quiet won, Indian Charlie ranked third. Real Quiet aced the Preakness, too.
However, Real Quiet did not win a Triple Crown and finished second in the Belmont Stakes. Nevertheless, Bob became the first trainer ever to win the Preakness and the Derby in consecutive years.
The next classic race Bob won was the 2001 Preakness and Belmont Stakes, both with Point Given. He finished third with Congaree.
The following year, Bob won the Derby for the third time, racing with War Emblem. The horse won the Preakness Stakes but lost the Belmont Stakes.
In 2009, Bob’s horse Pioneer of The Nile finished second in the Derby. The following year, Bob’s Lookin At Lucky (which was co-owned by his client Mike Pegram) aced the Preakness Stakes. The colt became the champion, though it did not race in the Belmont Stakes.
In 2012, Bob trained Bodemeister, named after his son Bode, and finished second in the Preakness and the Derby. The same year, he trained Paynter in the Belmont Stakes and ranked second.
In 2015, Bob trained the previous year’s champion, American Pharoah and won the 141st Kentucky Derby. Bob also trained Dortmund. American Pharoah ended up winning the 140th Preakness Stakes, and Bob finished fourth with Dortmund.
Following this, American Pharoah aced the 2015 Belmont Stakes, too. At age 62, Bob thus became the second-oldest horse trainer to win a Triple Crown. The horse became the 12th American Triple Crown winner and the first to achieve the feat since Affirmed in 1978.
In 2018, Bob won another Triple Crown, when Justify won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. He also trained Authentic, the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner.
Bob catered to scores of high-profile clients, such as the Golden Eagle Farm of John C. Mabee; The Thoroughbred Corporation of Prince Ahmed bin Salman; Robert and Janice McNair; Mike Pegram; and the late Bob Lewis and his wife, Beverly.
In 2014, Bob joined hands with horse owner Kaleem Shah and won his first Breeder’s Cup Classic, racing with Bayern. Bob has also trained horses for the Zayat Stables and the Juddmonte Farms.
Bob Baffert won the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer for 3 consecutive years, from 1997 to 1999. He also won the Big Sport of Turfdom Award in 1997.
Bob’s horses have won him 15 American Classic races, 15 Breeder’s Cup races, the first Pegasus World Cup, and three Dubai World Cups.
In 2010, his horse Misremembered aced the Santa Anita Handicap, which was Bob’s first Grade I win.
He has won the Santa Anita Derby nine times, the Haskell Invitational Handicap nine times, and the Del Mar Futurity 14 times.
Bob Baffert has three Kentucky Oaks victories to his name, with Silverbulletday in 1999, with Plum Pretty in 2011, and with Abel Tasman in 2017.
In 2018, with Justify’s win in the Kentucky Derby, Bob became the second trainer (after Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons) to have won the Triple Crown twice. Also, Bob’s five Derby wins placed him second only to Ben Jones.
He also overshot D. Wayne Lukas to win the most Triple Crown race wins. After Authentic's win in the 2020 Kentucky Derby, Bob tied with Ben Jones for the highest number of Derby wins (six).
In 2007, Bob Baffert became part of the Lone Star Park's Hall of Fame. In 2009, Bob was inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame.
His horses Silverbulletday and Point Given, too, were elected to the Hall of Fame. Eleven of his horses have won the honor of the Horse of the Year in their respective categories.
After winning the 2015 Belmont race, Bob Baffert and his wife, Jill donated to many charities.
They donated $50,000 each to the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, and Old Friends Equine. All three were charitable programs that catered to retired race horses.
They also donated to the Permanently Disabled Jockey's Fund, as a tribute to a jockey named Robert Z. "Bobby" Adair. Bobby was a “Hall of Famer” who had died on Preakness Day (May 16) 2015, aged 71. Bob had also dedicated American Pharoah's win to Bobby.
Bob Baffert has written the book Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby. He was also seen in an episode of the TV series Take Home Chef.
In July 2020, reports suggested that Bob had been suspended for 15 days by the Arkansas Racing Commission. The commission had also nullified the wins of two of his horses, Charlatan and Gamine. This decision had been taken as the two horses had tested positive for lidocaine, a banned substance.
Bob Baffert is married to Jill Baffert since 2002. Jill is a TV reporter from Louisville. They had their first child, a son, in 2004. They named him “Bode” after renowned skier Bode Miller. The family lives in California.
Bob has four more children, Savannah, Forest, Canyon, and Taylor, from his first marriage, to Sherry. Bob and Sherry split in 1999.
Jill worked as a waitress for 9 years at Breece’s Cafe located in Centerville, Tennessee. Even after she secured a job in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, after graduating from the Middle Tennessee State University, Jill still worked as a waitress for a while.
Bob and Jill had first met in 1998, when Jill was presenting a Louisville morning TV show covering the Kentucky Derby. Jill later said she was not interested in horses when she had met Bob initially.
In 2012, Bob suffered a heart attack in Dubai. He was apparently attending a race at Meydan. He eventually underwent surgery for the same.
One of his star race horses, American Pharoah, now lives at a farm outside Kentucky, named Ashford Stud. Bob and Jill often visit the horse and feed him organic carrots.
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