LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The days leading up to this year’s Kentucky Derby have a been a lot different for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

“I didn’t have anything good enough to run,” admits Baffert.  “I’d rather not be in it than have a horse at 50-1 odds.

And so it goes, Baffert, two years removed from winning the Triple Crown with American Pharoah is sitting this year’s Derby out and wondering what could have been. Perhaps had things turned out differently, this could have been his year again.

“Mastery was a fantastic horse,” said Baffert of the horse who won the San Felipe Stakes only to suffer an injury moments after crossing the finish line. “He could have been the favorite but he was injured. He’s okay now but you have to deal with it.”

Just because Baffert doesn’t have a horse in this year’s race doesn’t mean he’s not interested in the Kentucky Derby. In fact a number of the horses he trained sired horses in this year’s derby .And that includes the favorites, Classic Empire and Always Dreaming.

“I’ll be rooting for my friends horses. I think it will be a great Derby.”

And for Baffert, it’s a Derby too close to call.

“If you asked me, “Bob you get first pick, go get your derby horse,” it would be hard for me to make that call.”

Baffert says he’ll watch the race on TV from home. He plans to leave Churchill Downs after watching his horse Abel Tasman compete in the Kentucky Oaks Friday.

“We are excited about her and we got some horses in the undercard.”

And ultimately, yes he is still excited about Saturday, even though this year, he is on the outside looking it at history.

“It’s all a lot of fun. That is what it’s all about.”

A hall of famer yes but this Saturday, he’s a just a fan having fun.

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