10/16/2016 3:50PM

Trainer Baffert, jockey Garcia together again after six-month break

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Barbara D. Livingston
Martin Garcia, shown working Dortmund last year, has begun exercising horses for trainer Bob Baffert.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Martin Garcia, who have teamed to win Grade 1 races such as the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Santa Anita Derby, and Los Alamitos Futurity the last two years, are working together after a break of nearly six months.

Garcia worked horses for Baffert at Santa Anita on Sunday for the first time since April. The two parted ways because of differences in the spring, after having formed a partnership in recent seasons that saw Garcia frequently work and ride Baffert’s leading runners.

Baffert said on Sunday that Garcia approached him at the end of the Del Mar summer meeting last month about helping his stable. He said his relationship with the rider “was getting a little sour” last spring.

“At the end of Del Mar, he came to talk,” Baffert said. “To me, I’ve always had the Quarter Horse thing where one guy works for me. He’s been wanting to help work horses. He’s helped me to win some big races.”

In Quarter Horse racing, jockeys are often closely allied with individual stables. Garcia, who turns 32 on Oct. 23, rode the Baffert-trained Collected to a win in the Racing Festival Stakes at Sunland Park in March, their most recent stakes win together.

In recent seasons for Baffert, Garcia won such Grade 1 races as the 2014 Los Alamitos Derby and 2015 Santa Anita Derby with Dortmund, and the 2014 BC Classic with Bayern. Baffert said that riders such as Rafael Bejarano and Stewart Elliott will continue to work horses for him as they have in recent months, but said change was needed and that Garcia will be part of the stable’s ongoing structure.