But two weeks after spending a glorious night in the circle of this winner, the purebred Hall of Fame coach is being questioned after a positive drug test with his latest winner.
The result of the test threw an unwanted spotlight on the coach of the Hall of Fame, who last year had a handful of horses that did not pass drug tests.
One horse, a mare named Gamine, tested positive for betamethasone in Kentucky last year. Buffert’s lawyer, W. Craig Robertson III, sent a statement to CNN this week stating that the trainer and his team admitted to giving the horse drugs but did so before the 14-day withdrawal period.
“The vet gave 18 days of the race ̵
Robinson said that after experiencing Gamine, Buffert’s barn decided not to use betamethasone.
“That’s why this result was especially shocking, because we specifically decided not to use this particular anti-inflammatory,” he said.
Buffert said this week that in April, an ointment used to treat Medina Spirit’s dermatitis contained a steroid.
“Although we do not know for sure that this is the source of the presumed (steroid amounts) found in the Medina Spirit blood sample and our investigation is ongoing, equine pharmacology experts tell me that this may explain the test results, “Buffert said.
Last year, Buffert had four horses that failed drug tests, including Medina Spirit and Gamine (which actually failed on two).
Buffert was suspended for 15 days by the Arkansas Racing Commission because of Gamine and another horse, which failed to do tests because they had lidocaine in their systems, but last month the suspension was lifted and the results were restored.
After a near loss in his first derby, Buffert was crushed
It was an amazing journey for the man who loved horses at a young age and came looking for the allure of the Triple Crown.
The first time Bob Buffert, now 68, led a horse to the Kentucky Derby, in 1996, his thoroughbred Cavonier looked like a winner, only to be beaten to the finish line by the nose of Grindstone. A photo was taken to see which horse won.
“I thought (Cavonier) won, but he was caught and defeated an inch in the end,” Buffert said two years ago. “It was a devastating loss. I just thought I had struck my blow. For a year I was depressed by it.”
He had not fired his shot.
He won with Silver Charm the following year and Real Quiet the following year.
Buffert has trained the winners in 17 triple crown races and four classic classes for the Breeders’ Cup. He has been named Purebred Race of the Year four times.
Started at a ranch in Arizona
Buffert grew up in the 1950s and 1960s on a cattle ranch in Nogales, Arizona, on the border with Mexico.
“I wanted to be a horse trainer against my mother’s will,” he told CNN two years ago. She said, “How can you make a living as a horse trainer in Arizona?” “
“I just love being around horses. Once that gets into your blood, passion, you can’t get away.”
Buffert and his father take their cattle to shows in the region. Later, they began training quarter-horses – American-bred horses known for their tremendous speed of over a quarter of a mile – for racing.
Buffert sometimes raced his horses in unauthorized meetings around Nogales, after which he competed in some official competitions. But he outgrew the ability to get on the saddle.
“I was too big, I ate without a job,” Buffert said.
After studying animal science in college in the early 1970s, he returned home to train horses with his father.
He thought his progress was slow.
“I was really disgusted by that,” he said, referring to his development as a coach.
Success began on the track in California
A short stay as a teacher also did not work out, so he returned to the tracks, training horses for a friend.
“I decided to try it one more time,” he said. “I started winning and the next thing you know is I have five, 10, 15 horses and then I left.”
In 1983, Baffert moved to California to train his nine best horses on the famous Los Alamitos Quarter Horse Track near Los Angeles.
“I was very scared because I knew how difficult it was,” he said.
He told a friend that if the results of the first race were not good, he would return to Arizona.
On his first day, with three racehorses, he had one win and two thirds.
In the late 1980s, Baffert went on to train purebreds, dreaming of going to the Kentucky Derby.
For Buffert, training racehorses is not really a job.
“Trainers go to bed thinking about our horses, and we wake up thinking about our horses,” he says.
“That’s the beauty. We work outdoors with these great animals. It’s the greatest therapy you can have. Whenever you feel depressed or depressed, I just go to the barn and hang out with them.
“I’m so lucky I found something I totally love.”