Baffert won’t start a horse in Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Bob Baffert won’t be saddling a horse in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby for the first time since 2008.
The Hall of Fame trainer said Monday that Govenor Charlie would not run. His other possibility, Code West, also won’t compete in the Derby at Churchill Downs.
Sunland Derby winner Govenor Charlie was 11th on the points leaderboard that determines the 20-horse field for the 1¼-mile race. Code West was ranked 21st.
Baffert hasn’t been on the Derby sidelines since 2007 and ’08. He has won the race three times, but not since 2002.
Govenor Charlie galloped Monday for the first time since April 11, a layoff caused by a foot bruise and soreness in his hind end.
“You cannot have any kind of hiccup,” Baffert said. “We want to be competitive and if you’re not competitive, my clients don’t want to be in there. We’re just going to watch and good luck to everybody else.”
Baffert said Govenor Charlie could be pointed toward the May 18 Preakness, while Code West is a possibility for the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
Three weeks ago, Baffert took Santa Anita Derby runner-up Flashback out of consideration because of a knee injury that will sideline the colt at least two months.
“It wasn’t meant for me to be in the Derby this year,” he said.
Baffert will saddle Midnight Lucky in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, then fly home to California for his youngest son’s first Communion on Saturday, when the family is planning a Derby watch party.