Baffert Watching Over Parx Contenders As Barnes Recuperates In California

by | 09.22.2017 | 4:59pm
Bob Baffert setting up a camera in the barn at Parx

Trainer Bob Baffert put the finishing touches on West Coast and Abel Tasman early this morning, sending both out for a mile-long gallop. Baffert and Mary and Gary West, owners of West Coast will receive a bonus of $50,000 each for having won the Grade I Travers as part of the Pennsylvania Derby bonus program.

West Coast, off his 3 ¼ length win in the Travers is the 8 to 5 morning line favorite in the Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, and will be in search of his fifth straight victory while Abel Tasman, also the morning line favorite at 8 to 5 in the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion is in search of her fourth straight Grade 1 victory.

“Everything is good,” said Baffert. “The biggest problem I have now is where I'm going to get breakfast in a little while,” he said with a smile.

The 64 year-old Hall of Fame conditioner is enjoying his first time at Parx and has been more hands-on than in recent years due to the absence of his longtime assistant, Jimmy Barnes, who suffered an injury during training last week. It was Barnes who saddled 2014 PA Derby winner Bayern for owner Kaleem Shah.

Barnes, who has been employed by Baffert since November 1998, was riding his pony when his mount stumbled and unseated the 58 year-old, said to be a “freaky thing” by Baffert. He was then transported to the hospital, and diagnosed with a fractured pelvis.

Barnes is Baffert's right hand man when it comes to shipping outside of California for a race. He was alongside American Pharoah when he won the Arkansas Derby, and remained with him through his sweep of the Triple Crown. His wife, Dana works as an exercise rider for the barn, and is the regular rider for Arrogate. Now Baffert, a recent stay at home trainer, is happily back in his old environment but wishes it was under better circumstances.

“Preparation is the most important, once we get them here it's done,” Baffert said. “I have the job of preparing them, and I have the job of saying to Jimmy here they are, they're locked, loaded, okay take them, and we make sure we're ready.”

Set to be released from the hospital sometime Friday afternoon, Barnes will recuperate at home, but already misses his time at the barn with the horses. To aid his down time Baffert installed a video camera which will serve a dual purpose. To keep watch on his Grade 1 winners while he's away from the barn, and also to keep Barnes busy.

“I gave him the website. I told him he could be the night watchman. I was told he was watching them last night. He was sitting there, watching the both of them for about twenty minutes. It's good because he's going to be like that movie with Kathy Bates, what was it called? Misery? He'll be like that, chained to his bed, driving his poor wife Dana crazy.”

  • Ida Lee

    Nice article but just one thing….couldn’t we have a photo of West Coast or even better, the lovely Abel Tasman ??? nothing against Bob ….maybe a photo with Bob and Abel and/or West Coast….. we very much prefer blissing out on the horses …did I mention the lovely Abel Tasman ????

    • dan gable

      Good to see Bob travelling for a change. This tells me West Coast a serious race horse. I believe West Coast or Cupid will win the BC Classic.

      • Ida Lee

        I like them too…but I’m looking at Gun Runner for the Classic….and of course, if the elephant in the room (a/k/a Arrogate) is back to his butt-kicking ways, well…I think we all know what the results will be ….

      • Tom Davis

        The only reason Bob B is traveling is because Barnes is bedridden. Otherwise Bob would stay in California. This is his first trip to Parx.

  • J

    CHANGING STORIES – I thought Martin Garcia was the Exercise Rider for ARROGATE?
    Is BAFFERT confused?

    • Curt Muth

      Garcia works him and Dana rides him in regular training. Don’t you know anything?

  • OopsyDaisy3

    J, Barnes was riding ‘his’ personal pony, not American Pharoah. Hey Jimmy, i think that is cool that Baffert put a video line in so you can keep watch over the horses.
    Sure better than anything else on T.V. Linda in Texas

    • Tango F

      Repole did it with Uncle Mo

  • It certanly puts a kink in things when you number 1 guy is out of service.
    just for fun i’d give 100 to see bob picking feet and another 100 to see him out for a jog (a stock saddle would be alowable) but another 100 where it in a flat…
    gota have a little fun😃

    • Olebobbowers

      You love cinches Mr. Moo, don’t cha…lol!

      • I had thought about double or nothing for bareback with a halter and lead but thats probably a strech.
        but i would go for a leater strap and and a golf ball in each front pocket (;-) on a green one

        Intersting that one side of my fam has the same name as you …old virgina family

        • Olebobbowers

          Lol…love it! BTW, my full name is Olebobbowers in honor of John Henry’s sire, that I had under my care at Bay Meadows in 1968. As a 5 year old, he’d never won a stake…until… I showed him some lovefest tactics I picked up when I was in Berkeley in the hippie 60’s. He fell in love with me as well, and won his first, and only, stake, The Tanforan Hcp.,and set a track record as well as equaling the World Record for 1 1/8. congrats to your Va. Bowers! BTW, I began my career as an exercise rider at Burrland Farm in Middleburg, Va. as a 14 year old in 1952. Va. has a lot in common with Ky. in many ways. Great place for horses!

          • Minneola

            Nice background story, not only about the horse but also taking me back in time to when I lived between Berkeley and Lake Merritt. What a time! What a place! Still….What “lovefest tactics” did you show him? Or, should I even be asking? :-)

          • Olebobbowers

            Yes, glad you asked, Minneola. The ‘hippie lovefest’ was an attempt to be comical, which I realize lookin’ back, it wasn’t as accurate in expressing how I mellowed out a horse that was very unhappy, at all. There are actually many factors to choose from when you see the need to erase the bad memories a horse is suffering from, by overpowering it with kindness, which combined with love, equals confidence, as well as an entirely different attitude, that aims him in the right direction, paying attention to all I ask of him. I’ve long said that if you can get a horse to take a step in the right direction by his own suggestion, it is not counterfeit, and through patience, as well as close observation, you can feel assured you can build on it from there forward. I am 100% honest when I say I’m a horse whisperer supreme, having left home to a farm where my lodging was a bunkhouse on the farm, close to the barn. I still had to attend school a few hours a day, but the rest of my entire day was spent in closeness to our horses, and they basically took me under their wing, and expressed to me in a way I understood, what they loved as well as what they hated. I was totally in love with our entire string, as we freshened them away from the races for the winter. There’s so many details of that era of my life, that basically stems off that amazing beginning of a career I couldn’t have even imagined possible. It was ALWAYS based on my understanding what my horses wished for, and me providing it. Turned me into a pretty knowledgeable Dad of our 2 children as well.there’s so much more, but I’m sure you get the gist of how I became a horse whisperer, and why I’m aware how much happiness I brought my horses, and my biggest thrill was when they gutted it out to win a photo, and I knew it was ’cause of their love for me. Kinda sobbing tears here, but they are tears of joy. I love all my friends on here that enjoy sharing my past. Oh, P.S. my Dad was a jockey, he retired in the late 1920’s. I also had 3 older brothers all dedicated their lives to racing, so it does get in your blood, for certain. <3

          • Few will understand the nuances of what you just said due in no small to arogance and self ritiousness. No felling like that moment in time when a horse gives himself to you

          • Minneola

            My experience with horses is far, far less than anything you have done in your past but I can certainly glean some understanding from what you have experienced with them. I often think of them as “big dogs” — and that is not meant to be disrespectful but from the standpoint that they are social beings that do try to communicate with humans. In one of my cases, there is a mare that is a bit of a diva. Greets me at the gate and nearly knocks me over with her head as I try to take her fly mask off and put on her halter. She knows that she has a treat ahead for her but, first, is going to be groomed. However, she would rather that I speed it up a bit since she has better things to do. So, she will paw, and paw, and paw at the ground as I groom or bathe her. (Sees a farrier more often than other horses because of that.) But, she loves her grazing time that requires my doing so on a lead — and that is what she keeps thinking about as I carefully make her look like a million dollars. Of course, getting her off that pasture requires patience on my part; she never wants to leave and it becomes a minor battle of the wills.

            Wish I could forward a link to something that a friend, recently, sent to me through Facebook. It was a collection of photos of horse and felines. It is such a contradiction of what some people (who fear big animals such as horses) believe to be possible. Each photo was of a horse/pony with a cat/kitten. These photos demonstrated how the two did communicate with each other and were very affectionate. You were fortunate to have been born into a family that loved horses as you did. That germinated your love of horses and gave you a clear path to follow in life. My parents were city folks who didn’t have a clue about horses but, luckily, I had friends whose families owned ranches and that is where I got to ride horses over hills and valleys in casual riding and lots of fun! It never occurred to me to fear these big animals; they can be quite gentle.

          • Bella

            What you learned on that Farm was a valuable Gift for horses in your life. To be able to read the feelings of a horse and to love them as you do does teach understanding and kindness to others in your life. Patience and empathy are so important….For me, horses have always been my best and most sensitive teachers .

          • Cuffdaddy

            The best of Paulick Report are comments like the one you just shared.

            Bravo Olebobowers!

          • Minneola

            Yes, I agree. While we see, too often, some posters being very snarky and rude, along come some, such as Olebobbowers, who share some really great stories and provide us some knowledge that we do not see reported but, nonetheless, equally as informative as anything that some professional reporters can churn out. We’re lucky to see these individuals contribute in the comment section.

  • longshot

    Ahhhh…. to bad ,now he has to work alittle bit for that 130$ a day

  • Minneola

    Just crashing a thread to bring attention to another one, here, that was quickly closed but may (I hope) be of interest to all of you. It is the one that Hal Handel wrote about a new attempt to get horse slaughtering to begin again in the U.S. If you are opposed to this attempt, I urge you to read the story and to click on it to find the links to your representatives and, then, send them a clear message. Do it today. Do it now. Thanks.

    • billy

      Quite odd that thread was closed so quickly….but you are absolutely correct something’s needs done and now

      • Minneola

        Yeah, I don’t know why it closed that quickly but it has a lot of valuable information along with the link to our elected federal representatives, which makes it quick, easy, and accurately sent. Hope that those that follow racing also care enough to spend five minutes to send an email or two. I just did a copy and paste of the message and sent it to all three of mine. Made it easy.

      • OopsyDaisy3

        I emailed Ray and asked why it was closed so fast. Linda

        • Minneola

          It is curious, isn’t it? I am just guessing that someone (or more than one) started posting some truly negative comments. But, fortunately, the important part (the article) is still there as well as the link to our elected officials makes it super easy to send a message.

          • OopsyDaisy3

            Mr. Paulick was kind enough to answer me personally. He was traveling at the time the article was posted with comments. The topic of Horse Slaughter is an explosive one and “his staff chose to close as it was out
            of control.” You can well understand i am sure. Linda

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