Bob Baffert considers the Preakness Stakes the easiest stop on the Triple Crown trail. The Hall of Fame trainer has won the Preakness five times and has an excellent shot Saturday to make it six. He’ll saddle Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness favorite American Pharoah and Derby third-place finisher Dortmund in the eight-horse field.
Three of Baffert’s Preakness victories came with his prior Kentucky Derby winners: Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002).
Baffert has an enviable record of Preakness success, including four wins in his first seven attempts and five times with 15 starters. Only D. Wayne Lukas (6 for 40) and R.W. Walden (seven wins between 1875 and 1888) have won the race more times. Lukas starts long shot Mr. Z in Saturday’s 140th Preakness.
Despite his success, Baffert has lost the second jewel of the Triple Crown twice as often as he’s won it – often in odd or head-scratching circumstances.
5 for 15Trainer Bob Baffert’s overall Preakness record
Here’s a look at Baffert’s Preakness ups and downs:
1996 Cavonnier, fourth: The Preakness favorite was in position along the rail turning for home, but a football sailed out of the infield and almost hit him, causing the horse to take up. Front-running Louis Quatorze won.
1997 Silver Charm, first: Ridden by Gary Stevens, Baffert’s first Derby winner prevailed by a head bob over Free House and Captain Bodgit in a three-horse photo finish.
1998 Real Quiet, first: Nicknamed “The Fish,” this Derby winner wiggled away to win by more than two lengths over Victory Gallop.
1999 Excellent Meeting, DNF: Baffert’s lone Preakness filly had breathing problems on the backstretch and was pulled up; Lukas’ Charismatic won.
2000 Captain Steve, fourth: He had a troubled trip behind long-shot winner Red Bullet. Captain Steve went on to win the 2001 Dubai World Cup and $6.8 million.
2001 Point Given, first, and Congaree, third: After flopping in the Derby, favored Point Given redeemed himself; he won the Belmont, too. Congaree duplicated his Derby finish.
2002 War Emblem, first: The front-running colt gave jockey Victor Espinoza his first Derby-Preakness sweep.
2003 Senor Swinger, fifth: A late-running turf specialist, he was overmatched by Funny Cide, who won by almost 10 lengths.
2009 Pioneerof the Nile, 11th: American Pharoah’s dad, this Derby runner-up had a troubled trip and was eased behind filly winner Rachel Alexandra.
2010 Lookin At Lucky, first: The failed favorite in the Derby, this colt gave jockey Martin Garcia his first win in a Triple Crown race.
2011 Midnight Interlude, 13th: The Santa Anita Derby winner found nothing but trouble in Baltimore behind long-shot winner Shackleford.
2012 Bodemeister, second: Named for Baffert’s youngest son, this colt duplicated his Derby effort behind I’ll Have Another.
2013 Govenor Charlie, eighth: Another horse with a misspelled name, the Sunland Derby winner showed little in losing to Lukas’ long-shot winner, Oxbow.
2014 Bayern, ninth: Bumps galore eliminated his chances behind California Chrome; Bayern came back to win the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic.