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Updated on 03/29/2012 3:50PM
Dubai: Owner expects Baffert to be at track for Dubai World Cup
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Bernie Schiappa, part-owner of Game On Dude, said there is little doubt that trainer Bob Baffert will be in attendance at Meydan on Saturday night when Game On Dude runs in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
“Is the sky blue? Are you kidding me?” Schiappa said Tuesday morning when asked if Baffert would be able to make the races. “You’d have to drag him out of here. Trust me, he’ll be here. He’ll probably be sitting next to Sheikh [Mohammed].”
Baffert, 59, suffered a heart attack early Monday morning and was rushed to a local hospital, where he had a total three stents inserted into two arteries. According to Schiappa, Baffert had one artery fully blocked and another with a 90 percent blockage.
Schiappa said he couldn’t believe how quickly Baffert went from being admitted into the hospital to undergoing surgery.
From “the time we got into the emergency room and we went up to ICU, it wasn’t any longer than 25 minutes, and Bob was in the procedure already,” Schiappa said Tuesday morning at Meydan. “It could never happen in the United States that way. No way. It was amazing.”
Schiappa credited Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, with assisting in getting Baffert the necessary care at an expedited pace. Mohammed had been alerted to Baffert’s condition by Rod Daniels, who works as Godolphin Racing’s blacksmith. Daniels was told by Tim Yakteen, who is overseeing Baffert’s horses here.
Sheikh Mohammed visited Baffert in the hospital Monday afternoon, which was documented on a video Baffert took with his cell phone.
“Class act,” Schiappa said of Sheikh Mohammed. “To me, that’s a friend for life.”
Schiappa said that Baffert was training right up until the time he went in for his procedure. Schiappa said Baffert was speaking on a cell phone to Yakteen about how he wanted both Game On Dude and The Factor – whom Baffert will start in the $2 million Golden Shaheen on Saturday – to breeze Monday morning.
Prior to attending a press conference Tuesday morning, Schiappa said he spoke to Baffert, and the white-haired trainer was in good spirits and in his usual jovial mood.
Asked whether Baffert could tolerate Game On Dude getting into a pitched stretch duel in Saturday’s World Cup akin to the one he was in during last year’s Santa Anita Handicap, Schiappa said, “Bob could take it. He told me the doctor would be at his side in case he keels over.”
Schiappa said Baffert’s heart attack adds more emotion to what was already going to be an emotional day for the connections of Game On Dude. Last year, Terry Lanni, one of the partners in the horse and the chairman and former CEO of Mirage, died from cancer.
“His wife and two boys are coming,” said Schiappa, who said Lanni was his best friend. “It’ll be a big emotional factor, if he was to win for both Bob and Terry. Win, lose, or draw we’re proud to be here. Nobody wants to lose, everybody wants to win naturally, but we’re good losers.”
All the Kings horses and and all the Kings men put Bob Baffert together again!!
Baffert / Sheikh , it will be an honor to meet up with you folks in DUBAI . I know Jill and Bode have to be feeling very blessed that what happen - happened in DUBAI where you recieved the best care possible . Sheikh , your a first class stand up in our field of racing . I think this was one of the best story lines of the year . And to others that do not follow racing - would have no clue the meaning behind it all . Fabulous Story ! Hope to meet up with ya all Thursday / Friday . Thanks again Sheikh , for taking good care of one of our Greatest of all times
Sheikh , as much as I have been pulling for Hansen , Union Rags , Creative Cause , or anyone from last years Juvenile Breeders Cup to Win this years Kentucky Derby - It would be so Awesome if by chance ALPHA won the Derby . You are a PERFECT example to our racing . What you did for Bob Baffert in DUBAI , this story really sent chills up my spine . You are a first Class act and Baffert said it best - a true friend for life . Thanks for taking care of one of our greatest in the game . Thanks again ! You are one of our Greatest as well in the game as well . You do deserve a KENTUCKY DERBY Win Soon
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