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Finley: What will Saturday bring for Baffert?





Point Given ready despite a.m. incident


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bob Baffert was hoping for a quiet and uneventful morning as post time draws near for the 127th Kentucky Derby, but he got much more than what he bargained for when a trip to the track for some light jogging almost proved disastrous for morning-line favorite Point Given.

Point Given
Point Given throws exercise rider Pepe Aragon while trainer Bob Baffert (right) watches.
Normally, very little action is expected on the backstretch on Derby morning. All preparations are complete and the clock is already ticking toward post time at 6:05 EDT. However, the morning calm around the Baffert barn was shaken early Saturday morning when Point Given spooked when coming off the track from his morning jog.

"He just likes to play around. He reared up a couple times, spun around, and the rider came off. Sometimes when they go up like that you worry about them going over backwards and hitting their head. The whole thing lasted about 15 seconds," said Baffert. "We had a whole bunch of people surround him and take a bullet for the team until things returned to normal."

Baffert immediately shrugged off the incident and instantly refocused his attention on the race.

"I want to see [Point Given and Congaree] break well and get into position on the first turn," said Baffert. "Once they pass the three-eighths pole and they're moving, then you know they came to run. Hopefully I'll be about a length out of it turning for home. If that works out, I know one of my horses is going to win."

Unlike many of the trainers preparing to run horses in today's Derby, Baffert can draw on his past experience to get him through the hours leading up to post time. Baffert has won the classic twice, with wins in 1997 and 1998 with Silver Charm and Real Quiet. Despite his success, Baffert has also been on the losing end in past Derbies, most recently last year when he saddled Captain Steve for an eighth-place finish.

"You think 'if you don't get it done, what a letdown.' I don't worry about it. You've got to take the pressure off yourself," said Baffert, "I've never really said to myself 'I'm going to win this.' We've had some pretty good luck."