04/28/2013 12:39PM

Kentucky Derby: Baffert unlikely to have a starter

Barbara D. Livingston
Code West (right), working in company with the filly Midnight Lucky on Sunday, is probably headed to the Peter Pan and then the Belmont Stakes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When it comes to getting horses to this year’s Kentucky Derby next Saturday, it has been the tale of two trainers, the best of times for Todd Pletcher, who it looks will have five in the race, and the worst of times for Bob Baffert, who all but ruled out both Code West and Govenor Charlie on Sunday morning.

The absence of Govenor Charlie is no surprise, since his training setbacks have been well-chronicled for more than a week now. Code West was considered more likely for the race than Govenor Charlie, but still a long ways from certain, and after Code West worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds on Sunday morning at Churchill Downs in company with the filly Midnight Lucky, Baffert sounded as if he would not run Code West, either.

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 Kentucky Derby contenders with odds and video]

Assuming both do not run in the 139th Derby, this will mark the first time Baffert, a three-time winner of the Derby, has not had Derby runners since consecutive years, 2007-08.

“You want to get your clients there, but at the same time you’ve got to be realistic,” said Baffert, who trains Code West for Gary and Mary West. “Mr. West doesn’t want to compete unless he can win the race. He doesn’t need to run just to run.”

Baffert said Code West most likely would run in the Peter Pan Stakes on May 11 at Belmont Park as a prep for the June 8 Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown, and a race Baffert has long mentioned as the major goal for Code West.

“The Belmont, that’s the target for him,” Baffert said.

Govenor Charlie is scheduled to work on Monday, but it looks like that will be a prep toward the May 18 Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

“You can’t have any hiccups, and he had a hiccup,” Baffert said of Govenor Charlie, who has not worked since April 11 owing to a foot bruise that briefly interrupted his training. “We’re a little tight for time. I don’t want to press him.”

Baffert stopped short of absolutely declaring both from the Derby, but that seems a matter of formality.

Govenor Charlie is currently 11th on the points list instituted this year by Churchill Downs to determine the Derby field should more than the maximum 20 enter the race on Wednesday. Code West is currently 21st, behind Winning Cause, who is also scheduled to work on Monday, but is highly unlikely to run in the race “unless he knocks my socks off,” trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning.

Pletcher also said Forty Tales, who won the Derby Trial on Saturday night, would not run.

Assuming all that holds, Tiz a Minister and Golden Soul would move up to 19th and 20th on the points list. Tiz a Minister ran third in the Snow Chief Stakes on Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park, and is still possible for the Derby. There is a plane leaving California on Tuesday should his connections decide to run.

Golden Soul’s connections are eager to run, so he’s certain for the Derby if the points fall his way, which it appears they will.

If there are less than 20 entered in the Derby, points do not matter. In that case, hypothetically, a filly with zero points could try and get in. The most intriguing, obviously, would be Dreaming of Julia, based on her runaway Gulfstream Park Oaks win on the Florida Derby card, but Pletcher on Sunday once again reiterated that she was heading to the Kentucky Oaks on Friday.



Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
Didn't bodemeister run last year. Author should fact check
Rob Beaudoin More than 1 year ago
Read the comments again, all he said was the last time baffert didn't have a KYD starter it was in consecutive yrs 07, 08
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anybody keeping score on Baffert's record since the Blood Horse article regarding his 7horses dying of heart attacks? It's pretty dismal. He did win the Snow Chief last Sat, but there hasn't been many wins.
Gina Spadafori More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. And sometimes ... it rains. Take a breather, Bob. You've earned it.
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
Yea I'm sure he's thrilled to not be working this Saturday and getting a little breather.
Gina Spadafori More than 1 year ago
We don't always get our way. But we can learn to be thankful for what we have -- and his case, that's more than just wins -- even as we work towards our future goals. Baffert has had a lot happen since his heart attack. Time for some regrouping, maybe, whether he's thrilled to be on the sidelines or not.
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
If you have some real insight to what Bob is thinking and feeling and what his real values are then spill it. Otherwise it's a rather common mistake to cast ones own values onto someone else.
Gina Spadafori More than 1 year ago
Have met him once or twice, and I doubt he remembers either time, even though I was the guest of a BC-winning owner. But ... have known a great many super-charged, highly competitive people, including many professional athletes who've crashed and burned in middle age. These are not my "values": They're my advice, offered with nothing but good intentions. :::shrug:::
Tom Temple More than 1 year ago
I'm with you on this, Gina. Goodness gracious, try to say something positive and the negativity just starts flowing, doesn't it? Why is that? Unhappiness, insecurity, or ? We do not have to put down every comment or opinion, otherwise, all you end up with is trash talking and after a while, the discussions fade away because everyone is too scraed to post anything of value any longer.
Reza More than 1 year ago
Wayne Lukas will hit the board
Reza More than 1 year ago
Baffert must not have the "battery" this year haha
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
He pulled out Super 99 too quick. Horse could have won, especially now that it looks that it might be raining. Far too much realism in this Derby. I hope a dreamer with a longshot wins.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
S99 couldn't have won which is why he is out. He didn't win at Oaklawn because it was slop, he won because it was sealed slop, the rain won't help him unless the track is sealed. And that could happen, but he would just go a little further before giving it up. This makes at least half a dozen or so horses that would have won had they entered. He's much better off at Santa Anita where he can hear his feet rattle which is now a problem with the running done at Hollywood. I doubt you'll ever see him in a race further than 1 1/16.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
I understand the realism. But I have him running the race of his life. Definitely in the money. We'll never know now, so it's a mute point.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
LOL. wow!! ALL this bruhaha about Baffert NOT running is a testament to his achievements! He will go down as one of THE VERY BEST trainers in our nation's history! And what publicity for him. He doesn't attend the big dance and ALL this noise? Only in my dreams!
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I can't believe that your application to be Bob's errand boy was rejected. You seem perfect for the job.
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
Here are the next 100 posts in a nutshell. BOB BAFFERT ruined these horses. No mention that they aren't ready and they are being rested. You are alright in my book, Bob. One of, if not THE BEST!!!!! hyp·o·crite/ˈhɪpəkrɪt/ Show Spelled [hip-uh-krit] Show IPA noun 1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. 2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
:-)) Ooooh Michael!! Somehow you're coming across as not happy with your life and more concerned with another's "successful" life. Don't you ever want to quit posting and actually OWN a horse so the plebs like you and I can write about us? LOL At least please come across as a nonchalant commenter. We all do have dictionaries you know? Shheeesh!! :-))
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I like that in your defense of Baffert you used a very good definition to describe him.
jttf More than 1 year ago
does bob want to deal with the media anymore than he has to right now. they would be asking him about all of the horses that died. how come you never gave us a good explanation on why they died ? do you push your horses too hard ? did you hear about the quarter horse who may have had a heart attack ?
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
He doesnt need one when he knows he has the Oaks winner.