LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Trainer Bob Baffert made a surprise appearance on the Churchill Downs backside Monday morning to watch Improbable get in a pre-Derby work.
“He went really nice. Really happy with the way he bounced over the track. The track’s in great shape. So everybody’s happy with him,” Baffert said after the Arkansas Derby runner-up wrapped up the work.
Improbable is one of three Derby hopefuls under Baffert. Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster and Santa Anita Derby runner-up Game Winner are scheduled to ship into Louisville later.
Jockey Mike Smith guided Roadster to the Santa Anita win but opted to take the mount on likely Derby favorite Omaha Beach for trainer Richard Mandella.
Baffert said he and Smith had a good conversation after the jockey made the decision to ride Omaha Beach.
“I have a really good relationship with Mike Smith,” Baffert said. “He wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be upset with him. You don’t have a problem with me. You may have a problem with my wife Jill,” Baffert joked.
Smith guided Baffert’s Justify to the Triple Crown last year.
This year, Baffert will aim for a record tying sixth Kentucky Derby trophy with his trio of hopefuls.
“I think they’re three solid horses. I’ve come in here with different types of horses, but I think (any) one of them could win it,” Baffert said.
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