There may be no bigger lightning rod for controversy in Thoroughbred racing than Bob Baffert, but whatever anyone’s feelings about the Hall of Fame trainer may be, there’s no denying that he’s a master at winning major races and shining when the spotlight is brightest.
The 26th edition of the $12 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) showcased that in a victory by Country Grammer which mixed irony, joy, anger, vindication, and any other emotion known to mankind as the racing world came to grips with it.
Almost 11 months after Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) for Baffert and owner Amr Zedan, only to be disqualified for a positive drug test in a case that has sparked ongoing legal battles, Country Grammer gave Baffert and Zedan, as well as fellow owners WinStar Farm and Commonwealth Thoroughbreds, a highly emotional victory over Hot Rod Charlie in the March 26 race going about 1 1/4 miles at Meydan Racecourse.
“Ladies and gentlemen, that’s Bob Baffert right there,” Zedan said after the race. “That’s what Bob Baffert is capable of doing. I am overwhelmed. This is an amazing feeling. I can’t believe it. I am so overjoyed. It’s been a rough year and now we’re back.”