Bill Belichick has coached the NFL’s New England Patriots in six Super Bowls and his teams have won five of them.  Bob Baffert is the great coach’s contemporary in American horse racing.

On August 19, 2017, Mr. Baffert sent out Collected and Arrogate to run one-two in the Pacific Classic and the next Saturday won the Travers at Saratoga with West Coast in a full field that included the winners of all three 2017 Triple Crown races.  Mr. Baffert also won the Travers last year with Arrogate.

In the past several years, Mr. Baffert’s entries have won the sport’s two richest races–the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Dubai World Cup—and the American Triple Crown, which had not been accomplished in 37 years, and numerous other stakes like the Haskell.  Were it not for Real Quiet’s loss by a whisker in the 1998 Belmont Stakes, Mr. Baffert would have joined the select company of “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons and Ben A. Jones as trainers of two Triple Crown champions.

Remarkably, Mr. Baffert has three horses in his charge—Arrogate, Collected, and West Coast—that could be favored in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic.  It is like having Tom Brady, Eli Manning, and Aaron Rodgers on your team as quarterbacks.

Critics say that Bill Belichick would not have been so productive without a Tom Brady playing quarterback or that Bob Baffert is riding high only because of horses like American Pharoah and Arrogate.  Indeed, talented athletes give a coach or trainer the ingredients needed to be successful, but they must be developed into winners.

Horse racing has several outstanding up-and-coming trainers and a handful of very accomplished veteran trainers.  However, if I could choose an individual to train a potentially “big-money” horse to run on a dirt surface, the white-haired fellow from California approaching the twilight of his career would be the choice.  He has a rare talent to get a horse ready to win the crème de la crème of races.  He can beat you on his racetracks in California or ship in to beat you on your racetrack in Dubai, Florida, Kentucky, or New York.

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