It’s nearly impossible to predict the outcome of the Kentucky Derby, the jewel in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. There are numerous variables. Jockeys and their horses are under pressure to perform in a marquee race; the field of runners is the largest they will ever witness: track conditions differ and are unpredictable until race day. Any of the three-year-old horses have never run in a mile-and-a-quarter race before.
However, one of the sport’s most well-known trainers, Bob Baffert, has been a Derby winner for decades. In 1996, I spoke with him after one of his horses, Cavonnier, came close to winning the race before being beaten at the finish line by Grindstone… That was Baffert’s first Derby, and he was devastated by the defeat.