Bob Baffert's 5 Kentucky Derby Winners Ranked

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D.S. Williamson

May 8th, 2018

On May 5, Justify became Bob Baffert's fifth Kentucky Derby winner. Baffert is probably the greatest 3-year-old trainer of all time. I mean, who's better? Because Justify so easily handled his competition in the 2018 Kentucky Derby, I thought it might be a good time to rank all of Bob's Derby winners.

Below, check out the list.

Bob Baffert's 5 Kentucky Derby Winners Ranked

These are my rankings. If you don't agree with them, no worries. Leave a comment and we can discuss.

1. American Pharoah, 2015

No brainer, right? Pharoah won the Triple Crown.  That alone puts him at the top of the list. He also obliterated his competition in the Breeders' Cup Classic, though. Granted, it wasn't the deepest Classic in memory after both Beholder and California Chrome balked from running.  Who cares? He still dominated.

2. Silver Charm, 1997

The year before Bob finished second in the Derby with Cavonnier. I had money on Cavonnier. I didn't have money on Silver Charm in 1997. I did have money on Silver Charm's arch-rival, the brilliant Free House. Captain Bodgit, a great racehorse, finished second. Free House finished third. One of the better sires in the past 20 years, Pulpit, finished fourth.

Charm lost the Belmont stakes because he didn't see Touch Gold. He also finished second to Awesome Again in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Silver Charm was an old school racehorse that Bob Baffert retired only after the horse realized it hurt when he ran too hard.

3. Real Quiet, 1998

Although I rank Silver Charm ahead of Real Quiet, one could easily flip the two. Bob trained Real Quiet for his friend, Mike Pegram. He purchsed Real Quiet for around $17,000. Real Quiet had an awesome rivalry with Victory Gallop.  Victory Gallop, trained by Elliot Walden, beat Real Quiet by a nose in the 1998 Belmont Stakes. Victory Gallop had finished second to Real Quiet in the Derby and Preakness.

Real Quiet went on to beat Free House in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special when he was a 4-year-old. He also won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup. He beat Budroyale, one of the greatest claimers of all time in the Hollywood Gold Cup.

4. Justify, 2018

He could easily climb up to second behind American Pharoah with a Triple Crown win. Actually, if Justify wins the Triple Crown, I might rank him first. The reason? This group of 3-year-olds appears to be much deeper than what Pharoah faced in 2015.

For now, he ranks behind Pharoah, Silver Charm, and Real Quiet. The Derby has been chalky since 2013. That means for Justify to leap ahead of both Charm and Quiet, he must at least win the Preakness Stakes and add something like a Breeders' Cup Classic.

5. War Emblem, 2002

It's not that War Emblem was a bad horse. He was a very good racehorse.  The problem is that he got away with an easy lead in his Derby win. Also, only Medaglia d'Oro turned out to be on War Emblem's level. Finally, once War Emblem's form went south, it stayed south.

One thing for sure, he might be Bob Baffert's greatest training performance. Baffert trained War Emblem after he won an allowance race at Sportstman's Park in Illinois. Baffert ran him in the Illinois Derby. He won that. Then, Bob parlayed that into a Kentucky Derby victory.

Warm Emblem practically fell to his knees after leaving the gate in the Belmont Stakes. He lost all chance for the Crown after that.