It’s been an interesting past couple of weeks for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and a couple of his more notable charges. First, there was the fourth-place upset loss of Arrogate in the TVG San Diego Handicap (G2) and then came a ninth-place result by Defrong in this past weekend’s Bing Crosby Stakes (G1).
“There are a lot of ways to get beat and that’s one of them,” said Baffert, referring to Defrong unseating jockey Mike Smith a few times during the Bing Crosby. “You just are glad everybody is fine and safe. He could have just as easily broken a shoulder, but all is good. (Arrogate) just didn’t run, but this was—things happen. You just gotta shake it off. I was worried he was going to hit the rail and break his shoulder.”
Baffert quickly shifted into trainer-speak regarding Defrong.
“I’d have liked to see him relax behind horses,” said a joking Baffert. “He didn’t get any schooling out of that. Could he learn how to relax and sit? He said, ‘no.’ He wanted no part of that. He’s a competitor. He was still trying to win at the end.
“You just gotta laugh it off, because you can’t change it. It was out of our control.”
No plans have been finalized for Defrong’s next move, but Baffert mentioned there’s a possibility the four-year Gio Ponti colt could make the trek out to Saratoga Race Course and compete in the Forego Stakes (G1) on August 1.