Bob Baffert’s Record-Setting Kentucky Derby Victories

By Richard Rosenblatt

The first time Bob Baffert had a horse in the Kentucky Derby was 1996, when he sent out Cavonnier. At first, it looked as if the white-haired trainer had won in his first attempt at the Run for the Roses.

Wrong. The photo finish went against him, and trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ Grindstone was declared the winner. The finish was super tight and to this day, Baffert calls it the toughest beat of his career.

Since then, he has put together perhaps the most impressive Derby/Triple Crown record in racing history – a record seven Derby victories and two Triple Crown champions.

“Seven wins, it’s like, I can’t believe I won two,’’ said Baffert after Medina Spirit gave the trainer Derby win No. 7. “It’s just — I leave here, like, wow. Can you believe it? Every time we’ve won, we look at each other, Jill (his wife) and I: Can you believe we won the Kentucky Derby again? And it’s exciting.”

Coming into Saturday’s 147th Derby, Baffert was tied with Ben Jones with six Derby wins, Jones’ win came from 1938-52.

The Baffert winner’s list:

1997 – Silver Charm

1998 – Real Quiet

2002 – War Emblem

2015 – American Pharoah (Triple Crown winner)

2018 – Justify (Triple Crown winner)

2020 – Authentic

2021 – Medina Spirit

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