Baffert looking to get elusive win in Preakness

May 16, 2009

Two weeks later, trainer Bob Baffert still is in shock that he lost the Kentucky Derby when Mine That Bird ran down his horse, Pioneerof the Nile, and zoomed off to win by more than six lengths.

"At the quarter pole, my jockey (Garret Gomez) was sitting chill, Pioneer was loaded and I couldn't see anything coming," said Baffert. "I thought it was mine."

At the eighth pole, as Baffert mentally was composing his victory speech, his wife, Jill, yelled, "Something's coming up the rail."

"Who is it?" Baffert cried.

Pause. Then, suddenly, "It's that freaking Calvin Borel," Jill screamed.

And so it was, with Borel riding the hair off Mine That Bird.

Baffert still can't quite believe he lost. "All of us are still shaking our heads," he said at the barn yesterday. Maybe that's why he has given today's 134th running of the Preakness a new name. He's calling it the "I Want Revenge" race.

It's a play on the Derby favorite, I Want Revenge, who was scratched on the morning of the race, but the sentiment is real with him, and the other Derby trainers coming back to test Mine That Bird today.

"We're all looking for revenge," Baffert said. And he thinks he's got just the horse to do it in Pioneer.

"I like my chances," he said. "Pioneer is a really good horse, he has trained well, he's looking fantastic and he's ready to run another big race. He just glides over this Pimlico track. I like what I see."