LCF Horse Trainer Seeks Triple Crown on Saturday

La Cañada Flintridge resident Bob Baffert (in sunglasses) celebrated in 2015 after American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes to capture the Triple Crown. If Justify (right) wins the Belmont this Saturday, he will become the 13th race horse to claim the Triple Crown.

La Cañada Flintridge, with its proud history as a horse town, also can justifiably boast about a resident who is among horse racing’s most iconic figures.
If Justify wins at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will only enhance his spectacular legacy; he will have guided two horses in four years to thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown.
American Pharoah (famously misspelled), whom he also trained, completed the difficult trifecta in 2015.
Only 11 horses completed the feat before American Pharoah swept the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and Belmont, and none since 1978, when Affirmed pulled it off.
In recent interviews with horse racing media, Baffert — who moved to LCF about six years ago — indicated he believes Justify has what it takes to become the sport’s 13th Triple Crown winner.
In Louisville, Kentucky, where the freakishly capable colt is training, Baffert compared him favorably with American Pharoah. The trainer was there last week to observe Justify’s first workout since his half-length Preakness victory on May 19, and he saw the horse easily cover four furlongs in a brisk 46 seconds.
“I was hoping to see that kind of work,” Baffert told reporters at the track. “Like American Pharoah, when he came back here and he looked like that. I think we’re in great shape and I feel pretty strongly that he’s not going backward on us.”
It might help that Bravazo, the horse that challenged Justify at the Preakness, will not race at the Belmont Stakes.
After that Preakness victory, Baffert spoke more about how Justify — whose accomplishments are all the more impressive considering he never raced as a 2-year-old — deserves to be considered among the sport’s greatest talents.
“They’re freaky horses, just like all the greats,” Baffert said at the post-race news conference. “Our job is to try to manage him as well as we can, so we have to go back on all my experiences to get them there as well as we can. But one thing about him — he’s a big, heavy, strong horse and the races don’t knock him out.
“He’s just massive, he’s just chiseled, beautiful — I know you keep hearing me say those things, but I’d love to put a Western saddle on him and ride him in the Rose Parade if they would let me.”
Coverage of the 150th Belmont Stakes will begin on NBC at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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