Mr. Baffert, Answers Please
This article is a long time in the making. It's been sitting on the sidelines and its arrow is pointed directly at the high and mighty Mr. Bob Baffert. The King of Horse Racing and the Master Trainer. Handicappers deserve legitimate answers. Not just to those who blindly assume, but to those with solid ammunition to back these questions. A futile article, possibly, but one that I have been itching to pen for years.
Those who follow horse racing and spend their money at the windows already knows the entire backdrop and we have heard, yet once again Mr. Baffert, the blasé and quite dismissive answer to your most recent headlines. But to those who love the horses much more than they love to cash their tickets, there is quite a lot to question. Let’s take a gallop down memory lane which portrays a serious pattern that you have become quite accustom to. In that same vein, magically there is quite a pattern that runs along your stable as well. A long running pattern which, wondrously, is never found in other barns. We’ll hit that area in a bit.
You see, we don’t forget. As much as “fake news” seems to be in vogue as of late, only the well-informed people with half a brain can read something and see immediately that the information is bullshit. I trust that you realize that “handicappers” are a different “breed” and our job is to look for the pretenders, the fakers, and the phonies. Our sole purpose is to read between the lines, gather information and put that puzzle together. Mr. Baffert, your puzzle doesn’t connect. There are many pieces missing and your regurgitation of the same “I'm innocent" public statements over the years is akin to a horse like Bayern fairly beating the likes of Shared Belief in the Breeders Cup Classic. It is absurd to say the least.
There is more to answer to other than horses dying in your care and banned drugs showing up in your charge’s bloodstreams. There is a little matter concerning you high dollar colts which surely could explain those missing puzzle pieces.
Between the years of 2011 and 2013, a total of seven horses suddenly and without a word of rationalization, died in your care. The California Horse Racing Board along with researchers concluded that nothing illegal was found, however, the drug Thyro-L was found in each and every one of those horses. A common denominator if ever there was one. Dr. Rick Arthur, the man who presented the results, claimed that the “clustering of deaths over such a short period of time was highly exceptional and the probability of this happening was less than .001 percent."
It was reported that it wasn’t until after the 7th death that you dropped the Thyro-L regimen and coincidentally the cluster of the seven deaths did not raise to eight. Given those facts, I would tend to think that most half-descent gamblers would bet their entire Derby bankroll that the easy single on top would be a little drug named Thyro-L as the cause. I'm sure that would be even money odds come post time.
No public statements were ever made about the sudden deaths of the horses in your care until published reports came to light in April of 2013, one month after the seventh died suddenly after training. You seem to have some important friends in some high places because while we all know that you see yourself as the most important trainer in the world, those who spend their money on this sport deserve information to make sound judgments with their hard-earned dollars. But that is nonsensical to someone of your caliber, I assume.
In his reporting, Dr. Rick Arthur made three conclusive statements...
"We could not find anything. We did not have an answer. There is undeniably something wrong here."
After those three statements, you came off your throne and directly into the cameras said that you “were gratified that the investigation was closed and they found no wrong-doing.” Seems to be your go-to statement, however, it completely disregards what Dr. Arthur said. The words, “undeniably something wrong here” is not the same as no wrong-doing. But you brushed it away and the gullible public forgets and the races go on.
Fast forward to 4/7/2018. Your horse, Justify, ran the Santa Anita Derby and tested positive for a banned substance that can enhance performance called Scopolamine. This information, again, was kept secret and behind closed doors by your friends at the California Racing Board. Instead of quick and speedy testing with results produced far in advance of the most anticipated race and sought after spot by trainers both here and abroad, the Kentucky Derby, these results were held back and kept secretive. In addition to the unfairness to the other trainers who were sitting on the bubble of securing a coveted gate, you condescendingly and arrogantly proclaim yourself the victim. While the report claimed “vast traces” of the drug, your public proclamation insults the very heart and soul of every horseman who ever lived. You claimed the "trace amounts of the drug" found in test results were "undoubtedly" due to the horse's feed being contaminated by jimson weed, "a naturally growing substance in areas where hay and straw are produced in California."
Undoubtedly? Where does it state in any report made by any professional investigating that case that the horse’s feed was UNDOUBTEDLY the culprit? How do the words “vast amounts” turn into “trace amounts”? Sorry if you were inconvenienced by the whole “charade” concerning Justify, as your arrogance in the matter was a tell-tale sign by those who make a living on the weekends at the track know so well. Again, Baffert associated with drugs in the bloodstream of his horses goes quietly by the wayside and the gullible public allows it.
Fast forward to 5/2/2020. Your colt Charlatan and the filly Gamine both test positive for yet another drug, this time 3-hydroxylidocaine. For this one, you are claiming that your stable employee had broken his pelvis and was using a patch to alleviate the pain. You claim that the drug was “inadvertently transferred to the horses through their mouths" - a simple case of innocent exposure is all it is and we should brush this one under the carpet as well. We have Justify with his feed and now a Salon Pas Patch. Seems reasonable if you’re part of the brainless sheep herd but the story holds little water.
Why would you allow someone who had a “broken pelvis” in charge of caring for an 1150 pound horse? Why would you subject a horse who was about to run in the prestigious Grade 1 Arkansas Derby with the ONLY person in your employ who was “in pain”? Your arrogance knows no bounds and the sheer vanity that you hold does not equate to the minds of those who see completely through it.
There is a reason why the bigshot horses in your care do not align with their breeding. Your three strikes over the last 7 years make it so obvious to those who understand the insides of a horse and what they have running in their veins. It is not just about the ten innocent horses who either perished in your care or who were "inadvertently" drugged before their races - it goes much deeper than that. Your money-makers on the track are all clones from different sires. How is it that only your guys all seem to disregard their breeding as it pertains to their optimum distances? How is it that your horses cannot be handicapped in the same manner as those in the barns of Hollendorfer, Casse, Motion, Pletcher, O'Brien, etc?
For the past 10 years, the pattern is so obvious and transparent that, as both a pedigree/breeding follower and degenerate handicapper, is seen as disdainfully grotesque. The cast of characters is too overblown to present in whole, so, in part, let’s take a look as some of those high dollar horses of yours from the past. The two main reasons of course affect those who gamble at the track and, more importantly, affects those who spend top dollar on breeding fees with these guys. You see, Mr. Baffert, it would seem quite easy to explain away to the brain-dead sheep how your horses run the way they do because of “feed” or “innocent exposure” or “Salon-Pas Patches” or lightning strikes, or a roll of the dice. Or is it because you are such a great trainer that you can make any horse in your care magically run past his breeding and his optimum distance whereas no other trainer is able to do that? Is it a coincidence that all of your money-makers run exactly the same and then slam straight into a wall way before expiration date? Horses from your barn cannot be handicapped in the same manner as other barns and how is it that every one of them is a clone of the one before? Hmm.. I wonder what it could be?
How is it that regardless of your horses breeding, they all seem to want to gun for that lead and take it wire to wire no matter the distance and no matter what their stated speed/stamina balance is? How is that your big league colts make it to that winners circle traveling the same exact route completely against what is truly running in their veins? How is it that you are the only one whose horses seem oblivious to their pedigree charts time and time again?
Here are just a few examples of the reasons why Baffert Clone horses cannot be handicapped in the same manner as the rest of the field. It is the reason why one must spend extra dollars on horses that come from your barn. In my opinion, based on your 7 year track record, it certainly is not because you are the greatest magician to train horses who ever lived.
DP = 10-5-7-0-0 (22) DI = 5.29 CD = 1.14
Mares: 5-9-2-11-3 Speed = 14 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.11 Triads = 16-22-16
Career Earnings: $2,975,500.00
Based on the breeding of this horse, his mares CD calculates to 0.07 and when combined with his chefs leaves him with an optimum just shy of 9f. This horse inherited dominant 4f to 6f sprinters speed from his elite sires and with the additional stamina from his mares allows him to sustain that speed no further than 9.2f. Notice that 10 points in the brilliant slot of his chefs profile. That depicts inherited dominance in short early speed and produces a colt with 5.3 times inherited speed over stamina. The balance from his mares is even, 14 and 14 - no additional stamina over and above his speed. How does a horse bred like this travel wire to wire in the 10f Pacific Classic when it is clear that his stamina balance does not depict enough to sustain all of that speed passed 9.2f? How does he tail the likes of Gun Runner, out on the lead in the 10f Breeders Cup Classic and end up filling out the exacta? Is it a case of "innocent exposure" or is Baffert simply a genius who can get all of his horses out on the lead, sustaining a great deal of inherited speed far above his optimum and with complete disregard to his speed/stamina balance? Only Baffert seems to be able to do this.
DP = 2-3-3-0-0 (8) DI = 4.33 CD = 0.88
Mare Profile = 7-4-4-9-4 Speed = 11 Stamina = 13 Index = 1.05 Triads = 15-17-17
Career Earnings: $8,650,300.00
The miracle of the century. The only horse in the entire history of the Belmont Stakes to make it around that 12f track (wire to wire to boot) with this breeding. His Mare CD calculates to 0.04 and when combined with his chefs, leaves the horse with an optimum distance of 9.4f. With only 8 total points in his chef’s profile, this horse lacks in inheritance from elite sires which means his mares will take over. The mares numbers are pitiful for 12f and the speed/stamina balance as depicted in these numbers never allowed a single horse even one time over the century plus to wire 12f in the Belmont. A 4.33 index horse with an optimum distance of 9.4f traveling wire to wire at 12f is an enigma. He must have had some mighty fine feed that day. I’m wondering Mr. Baffert, how do you get a horse to bolt to the lead and run 12f with breeding like this? It has been an impossibility since the very first Belmont Edition in 1867 and it will be an impossibility for yet another century going forward. Federico Tesio must have rolled over in his grave that day. Nice chunk of change he produced plus that additional 13.8 million in breeding rights. Not bad for a speedster with sub-par mare numbers.
DP = 5-6-8-1-0 (20) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.75
Mare Profile = 9-4-4-7-8 Speed = 13 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.96 Triads = 17-15-19
Career Earnings: $3,798,000.00 for 6 starts
This guy’s optimum is 9.75f. His mares numbers lack severely and he resides on the very bottom of the speed spectrum. Miraculous that he was able to break that Apollo’s curse for you. Built like a tank is in his favor but he was not the best bred for the 2018 Derby and most definitely was not advantaged in the 12f Belmont against a few others on that field. He got that 12f again wire to wire just like all of the other clones that you train. In reality, with an on-going silent investigation, any upstanding trainer would have scratched his horse until cleared, but not you. No, not you.
DP = 7-10-9-2-2 (30) DI = 2.53 CD = 0.60
Mare Profile = 5-7-1-7-7 Speed = 12 Stamina = 14 Index = 0.82 Triads = 13-15-15
Career Earnings: $3,670,790.00
This one is mind-blowing Bob. Must have been one hell of a training regiment. The ability to turn a colt bred like this into a 6f sprinter is one of your greatest achievements. With an optimum distance of 10.3f, this guy had more stamina in him than both Pharoah and Justify but somehow the horse disregarded all of his inheritance, both top and bottom, traveled 7700 miles to sprint 6f and into the Winners Circle in Dubai, again up close to the lead. Wonders never cease. Fantastic little 6f sprinter with the breeding of a classic runner. Magical.
DP = 4-0-6-0-0 (10) DI = 2.33 CD = 0.80
Mare Profile = 8-5-1-8-7 Speed = 13 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.96 Triads = 14-14-16
Career Earnings: $3,453,560.00
How do you consistently get every horse in your care to bolt out to the front and wire the track regardless of his speed/stamina balance? These numbers are horrific and they certainly do not depict a speedster who is bred for the lead.
Bayern, Mor Spirit, Ax Man, West Coast, Game on Dude, Bodemeister, Arrogate, etc. etc. etc. all running on the lead or stalking up front. They all follow the same mold regardless of sire, regardless of the female line, regardless of anything pertaining to their breeding. Maybe you can dismiss the three investigations into wrong-doing and act like the victim who just happened to have a few misunderstandings, but the pattern of your clones not following their breeding is something that does not go unnoticed by those who know how to handicap horses.
The sudden and unexplained death of Arrogate did not go unnoticed.
Nadal, one of your rare colts who actually had superior breeding and talent, one who could rely solely on his own merits and breeding, being subjected to an inferior track because of convenience to you and with the strong possibility of other factors that "weaken" did not go unnoticed.
A colt with magnificent strength who was so gifted in his ability to claim the Triple Crown trophy, Justify, ending up with early retirement after only 6 races in his entire career did not go unnoticed.
The "great and spectacular" American Pharoah, who was so sensational and such a once in a lifetime monster, lasting only 5 more months with only 3 more races in him after that Triple Crown did not go unnoticed.
The downward spiral of many of your early money-makers does not go unnoticed. Whatever it is that turns your horse's true inheritance upside-down apparently does not agree with them for very long. Are we supposed to pretend that we don't notice this for fear of insulting you?
The fact that we must resort to paying the "Baffert compensation” at the ticket windows just in case your speedster happens to be under “secret” investigation for enhancing drugs is pathetic and real. What is even worse, Mr. Baffert, is the fact these “superstars” are now standing in breeders sheds with a huge cloud hovering over their mating ritual. What happens Bob, when their offspring finds a barn outside of yours and happens to truly run directly in line with his actual balance in breeding, just like 95% of the colts out there now? Maybe next time you and your buddies should inform the betting public of your ongoing investigations. That would be a good start.
This is not an accusation, this is my opinion based on the history of the numbers and how they have aligned consistently in Graded Stakes races over the decades. Most of your horses do not run anywhere near their numbers, their charts, their inheritance or their balance. Sad days for the horses themselves. Should we consider this an “innocent coincidence” or just dismiss it and wait for the next investigation?
By the way, your connections transparently run deep on the California Circuit. The only way your smug ass walks into the Winners Circle with Bayern in the 2014 Breeders Cup Classic is succeeding in your quest to take out Shared Belief at the starting gate. Bravo. Mission Accomplished. And once again, dismissed without even a slap on the wrist. Good luck in the 2020 Kentucky Derby, but you certainly don't need any of that.