Bob Baffert Bio

Bob Baffert is an American horse trainer who has made his wealth within the horse racing culture, [1] and it’s fair to say that he is one the most influential people in the horse training and Equestrian business.

This is somewhat of an interesting topic for me, as I grew up with horses, and have been known to put a cheeky bet on from time to time and even watch the races occasionally.

Bob Baffert is very successful in what he does, he has actually faced a lot of controversy surrounding his career. Including drug test failures on his horses and hefty fines, but I’ll go into more detail about that later.

For now, let’s take a look at some quick-fire facts about him in this Bob Baffert bio and see how he got into the world of horse training.

Bob Baffert Bio Facts

Full Name: Bob. A. Baffert
Birth Date: 13th January 1953
Birth Place: Nogales, Arizona, US
Nick Name: N/A
Nationality: American
Siblings: 6 siblings, 3 brothers and 3 sisters, not all their names are known, but he has an older brother named Bill.
Children: Bode, Forest, Canyon, Taylor, and Shelly
Partner / Spouse: Jill Moss Barfett
Profession: Equestrian/Horse Trainer
Salary: $5 million
Net Worth: $30 million
Social Media: Bob Baffert (@BobBaffert) / Twitter / Bob Baffert (@bobbaffert) • Instagram photos and videos /
Companies Associated With: Bob Baffert Racing Stables
Last Updated: August 2022

Bob Baffert Key Facts Summary

  • Bob started training thoroughbred horses in 1991.
  • He started working with quarter horses when he was a teenager and had his first win when he was 17.
  • Baffert has had the most G1 successes by any other equestrian in the U.S.
  • He has won many awards, including the Big Sport of Turfdom award in 1997 and 2015.
  • Bob has clients worldwide, including The Thoroughbred Corporation and Golden Eagle Farm.
  • Baffert dedicated the Triple Crown won by American Pharoah to late friend and Quarter horse jockey Robert Z. Adair.
  • He suffered a heart attack in 2012.
  • He appeared in an episode of Take Home Chef.
  • He has donated a lot of money to various charities.
  • One of Bob’s star horses, American Pharoah, lives just outside of Kentucky on a farm. Bob and his wife still visit him regularly.

Bob Baffert Birthplace and Early Life

Bob lived with his parents and siblings on a ranch in Arizona when he was a child. Throughout his childhood, his family raised cattle and poultry, and when he was ten years old, his father bought some Quarter Horses, which he started training to race.

Living with racehorses rubbed off on Bob because he was a jockey earning $100 a day by the time he reached his late teens. He was racing for unofficial Quarter Horse races just outside his hometown. Within a year or so, he was racing a more significant track and, at 17 years old, scored his very first victory. [2]

Baffert studied in the Race Track Industry Programme at the University of Arizona. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree when he was 18. [3]

Bob got married very young, and he was only 18 or 19, which is also when he began training Quarter horses which he did at a farm in Prescott, Arizona.

By the time he reached the age of 20, he was really starting to get a name for himself as a horse trainer and was soon getting hired by other Equestrians to run their horse stables.

Bob Baffert Early Business Success

The Beginning

The first horse he had trained to win a race was “Flipper Star,” which won at Rillito Park in 1979.

During the late 1980s, he moved to California, where he then worked at the Los Alamitos Race Course, and in 1991 he switched from training Quarter horses to thoroughbreds.

In 1992, Bob won his first Breeders Cup race with “Thirty Slews,” which marked his first big break.

Bob soon started to get a reputation and was recognized for being able to pick out magnificent horses, a lot of which weren’t even of that much value to begin with. For instance, he paid $16,500 for “Silver Charm”, and $17,000 for “Real Quiet”.

American Classing Racing

In 1996, Baffert trained a three-year-old colt called “Cavonnier” the horse came second in the Kentucky Derby and kicked off Baffert’s business history within the American Classic Races.

The following year Bob trained a horse named “Silver Charm,” which won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Silver Charm also came second in the Belmont.

He returned to the Kentucky Derby in 1998, where his horse “Real Quiet” won the race. This horse also finished second in the Belmont. He had another horse, called “Indian Charlie,” who came third in this race.

After these significant placements, it wasn’t until 2001 that he saw another big win. This was with “Point Given,” who won the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness. This horse was eventually a member of the Hall of Fame. Also, during this year, “Congaree” came third in the Derby.

In 2002, Bob won the Derby for a third time with a horse named “War Emblem.” This horse ended up winning the Preakness Stakes, which gave Bob another shot at winning the Triple Crown. Unfortunately, the colt broke poorly at the starting gate, which caused him to lose the stakes.

Baffert didn’t have a horse in high placement again, or “on the board,” as they call it, until 2009, when “Pioneer of the Nile” came second in the Derby.

In 2010, Bob co-owned a horse named “Lookin at Lucky” with fellow Equestrian Mike Pegram. The horse won the Preakness Stakes and later became the champion.

Two years later, he saddled “Bodemeister,” which was a colt that he named after his youngest son, Bode, and another called “Paynter” both of the horses came second in the Derby and


The Big Win

In 2014, Bob saddled a horse named “American Pharoah,” which won the triple crown. It was the first horse to do this in 37 years, and this really put Baffert in the limelight. The big win also meant that his total number of wins was now 4. During the same races, Dortmund, previously undefeated, finished third for Baffert, and “American Pharoah” was the winner of the 140th Preakness Stakes. This brought his victories to 6.

When Bob attempted to win the Triple Crown for the fourth time in 2015, he finally succeeded. He was 62 years old at the time, making him the second-oldest trainer ever to win

In 2018, he again trained the Triple Crown winner, this time with a horse called “Justify.” He also coached the Kentucky Derby winner that year.

In 2021, for the seventh time, he won the Kentucky Derby with a colt called “Authentic.” [5]. However, this is where the controversies began, as this horse tested positive for steroids after the race. It remains unknown whether the horse would be joining “Dancer’s Image” in being disqualified for drug use. I will go more into detail about the drug controversies below.

Bob Baffert Videos

Here, you can listen to Bob talking about his recollections of how he got to where he is today.

Bob Baffert | Journey to the top – YouTube

Before I go more into depth about the drug controversies surrounding Bob and his race wins, here is what the man himself has to say about it, as he denies the accusations about his horse being given illegal meditation.

Kentucky Derby winner’s trainer blames ‘cancel culture’ in Fox News interview – YouTube

In light of the recent discovery of steroids in the horse’s blood, Medina Spirit, the champion horse of the 2021 Kentucky Derby, has been stripped of his title. There was also a suspension and a fine imposed on Bob.

Trainer Bob Baffert was fined and suspended by Kentucky Derby – YouTube

Bob Baffert Business Failures/Controversies

I think because of who he is, Bob has always been a bit of a target regarding rumors and controversies. His friend and colleague Mike Pegram once said, “Anybody who walks with that swagger, people will either love or hate him; he’s a wise ass and irreverent.” Others have also said he tends to rub people up the wrong way and knows how to push people’s buttons.

However, the main controversy that sparked debate worldwide was not about his overall persona but because it came to people’s attention that his horses were possibly put under the influence of steroids before racing. Which, of course, is entirely against the rules and classed as cheating.

The Allegations

Out of the thousands of horses Bob has trained, saddled, and ran, 33 of them came back to have had drugs in their system at the time of racing. As it stands, he has paid out $20,000 in fines which I am sure only seems like a drop in the ocean compared to the amount he has in the bank.

Of course, he has denied all the allegations and continues to fight any suspensions, despite accepting the fines. He has been referred to as “Mr. Teflon” [6]

In all fairness, most of the allegations thrown at Baffert were for giving illegal drugs to the animals but for over-using prohibited drugs, which could have enhanced their performance. [7]

In 2021, the horse that made him infamous, Medina Spirit, had a positive result when tested, for the drug betamethasone at a level of 21pg/ml. [8] For the Kentucky Derby, any amount of this drug was cause for disqualification, and at this time, it was Bob’s fifth violation that year.

During interviews, he point blank refused to admit that the allegations were true and promised to fight the case “tooth and nail.” [9] However, he was suspended from entering any horses into the Churchill Downs racing track until a full investigation had taken place.

Barrett stuck to his guns, saying that the horse in question was suffering from dermatitis, which meant he needed the drug to treat the symptoms. [10]

The Suspension

Bob was banned from entering any horse into the Belmont Park races, a ban which he disagreed with and said that the NYRA did not have the authority to put the ban in place. I presume digging his heels in must have helped in some way, as the ban was reversed a month later, mainly because of the way the ban was put into place without any prior warning.

In February of this year, he was suspended for 90 days and received a fine of $7500. He was given a chance to appeal but this was rejected. He ended up being banned from every racecourse in California.

Other than Medina, two other cases caught people’s attention. One was when the colt “Justify” tested positive for scopolamine after it won the Derby in Santa Anita in 2018. The other was when his horse “Gamine” also tested positive for betamethasone after coming third in Kentucky Oaks races in 2020.

Sadly, Medina eventually passed away, but before the horse’s death, but before this, seven other horses had passed away while in the care of Baffert between 2011 and 2013. All the deaths were caused by unexplained heart attacks, which, I don’t know about you, but I think tells us an awful lot about how he managed to win so many races. Bob still claims that he was giving the animals the required amount of medications to treat health issues, and as nothing could prove otherwise, he was never found guilty.

If you are interested in reading about the controversies surrounding some more of the wealthiest people among us, then when you’re done here, I recommend checking out the biography of Bill Gross.

Bob Baffert Family

Bob has had two marriages, the first being to Sherry, with whom he shares four children, Savannah, Forest, Canyon, and Taylor. I am not 100% on the cause of their breakup, but I have read that it is possibly due to his work commitments.

His second and current wife is Jill Baffert, who used to work as a television reporter in Louisville. Together they have a son called Bode.

Bob Baffert Net Worth and Career Earnings

It took Bob 12 years after starting his career in equine to earn his first million, so nobody can say he hasn’t worked for his money. He made most of his money through race prizes.

Once he became a trainer, the money started rolling in, and he could earn $1 million for just a single race.

Over the years, his horses have made him hundreds of millions, and despite all the allegations surrounding him, he still has a net worth of 30 million.

Bob Baffert Real Estate Holdings

Currently, Bob lives with his wife at their home in California; The stunning house is worth somewhere in the region of $4 million. He uses his grounds to train thoroughbred horses.

He also owns an impressive collection of cars, including a Mercedes-AMG, a Ferrari F60, an Aston Martin Vulcan, a Ferrari LaFerrari, and an Aston Martin Valkyrie.

Bob Baffert Quotes

After facing so much controversy and having somewhat of a turbulent career, it’s not surprising to hear that Bob has several things to say surrounding his career and allegations. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

“In the past, I’ve never tried to stop what people are saying because I find it interesting on some levels.”

“If you’re going to be successful, you must live and breathe this business.”

“We live in a fish bowl with rumors and accusations flowing constantly.”

Bob Baffert Bio FAQs

Question: Why Was Bob Baffert Suspended From Horse Racing?

Answer: After the allegations arose that he had been using medications to enhance his horse’s performances, Bob was suspended from all racing events and banned from entering his trained horses into any races within California.

Question: Who Are Bob Baffert’s Clients?

Answer: Because of his reputation in the equestrian world, he has gained clients from all over the world. Some of these include The Thoroughbred Corporation and the Golden Eagle Farm.

Question: How Many Times Did Bob Baffert Win The Kentucky Derby?

Answer: Altogether, Bob won the Derby 7 times, although some of these were later disqualified due to his horses testing positive for stimulant drugs.

Recommended Reads:

Research Citations

  9. Medina Spirit could lose Ky. Derby win; track bans Baffert | AP News
  10. bob-baffert-says-medina-spirit-was-treated-ointment-contained-steroid
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