LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Bob Baffert returned from California Sunday night and returned to the backside at Churchill Downs Monday morning to oversee gallops by the current stars of his stable.Baffert thought both Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah and third-place finisher Dortmund looked good.
“They were traveling really well, said Baffert. “Energy-wise they still have it.You can tell by their brightness and the way they carry themselves on the track.”
Baffert has been down this road before.His three previous Derby winner all won the Preakness before falling short in the Belmont.But that last jewel is not on his mind, at least not foremost.
“Triple Crown, I don't think about that until this race is over,” Baffert continued. “I'm not a big fan of a mile-and-a-half race.Right now, let's just get prepared for this one and after that we'll know if he's that kind of horse. Can he handle it?My others that I raced for the Triple Crown, I wasn't thinking Triple Crown.I was just thinking Preakness and afterward you go ‘Oh boy, here we go.' Then it's not fun anymore.You gotta be thinking about that.Right now it's fun.We're just enjoying the Derby and they're doing well.”
The horse that finished in between the Baffert pair is also gearing up for a run in the Preakness.Kentucky Derby runner-up Firing Line has enjoyed long open gallops the last couple of days and also appears to have come out of the Run for the Roses in good shape. Assistant Trainer Carlos Santamaria has been handling things for trainer Simon Callaghan in Louisville since the race and he warns that you can't just concentrate on the top Derby finishers.
“We always talk about the top two, the top three, the top four, but every horse in the race has a chance,” said Santamaria.“Every horse has four legs so you never know.Sometimes a long shot ends up winning the race.You go ‘well we never thought about this horse'.We gotta think about our horse and do the best with him and just get there the best we can and see what happens.”
The top three Derby finishers are part of a group heading to Pimlico Wednesday.