Statement from Bob Baffert regarding his horse, Tweebster

Dec 31st, 2012 | By TrackSide View | Category: Articles, Trainers and Jockeys

(Forwarded from Santa Anita Park)

Dec. 31, 2012

BAFFERT,-BOB120webARCADIA, Calif. – We all know racing is a sport of extreme highs and lows, and there is nothing lower than the death of a horse. When the public’s perception is that you are somehow responsible it makes the pain all the greater. Not only am I distressed over the death of this tough, gallant horse, I am deeply troubled by the comments on social media.  They insinuate Tweebster’s death was a result of my dropping him down for a $12,500 claiming tag, suggesting the horse was unsound and I was merely trying to get rid of him.

I respect and fully appreciate the sensitivity regarding the well being of animals, so I feel I owe it to everyone to explain the events that led to Tweebster’s injury and subsequent death.

As is required, Tweebster was thoroughly examined by the state veterinarian yesterday morning and found to be perfectly sound going into the race.  The decision to run him in this particular race was not based on a lack of soundness, but rather a lack of races available for him at higher claiming prices. Tweebster was healthy and happy.  I felt he was in need of a confidence booster and thought this would be an easy spot for him to get it. I understand a severe drop in class can indicate a horse is unsound, but I assure you that was not the case with Tweebster.  Just before the race, heavy rain and hail poured down, making the track  more muddy and heavier.  The horse was moving great and his jockey says he felt comfortable throughout the race.  It wasn’t until after the finish that Martin felt him take a bad step.  We brought him back to the barn in hopes of saving him, but knew quickly that wasn’t going to be the case.

I have run horses at lower levels in the past and seen them regain their old form by getting their confidence back.  Sometimes I have had the horses claimed from me in the process and they have gone on to win stakes and allowance races for other owners and trainers.  I realize that is part of the claiming game. 

The death of any horse on the racetrack is hard to accept.  When that horse is one who you saw and took care of everyday, the pain is physically gut wrenching .  While I realize some people are going to think what they want, I want to express my feelings and deepest regret over the loss of a horse for whom I had a great deal of affection.

11 Comments to “Statement from Bob Baffert regarding his horse, Tweebster”

  1. Linda Broussard says:

    Mr. Baffert, will you release this horse’s confidentials, vet records including radiographs and results of ultrasounds after his last race and before this race? I’m a nobody from nowhere but always look to the ankles when a horse’s performance drops off. Regarding your comments about the pre-race exam, what an insult to the betting public and to anyone who’s ever worked the backside. Unless California vets peruse your confidentials and x-rays and such, a pre-race “exam” is the same as everywhere: some groom jogs the horse up and down, MAYBE a hock flexion and trot off. Sesamoid injuries are seldom spontaneous. And they do not show up on pre-race exams, as you well know.

  2. John says:

    Sorry Bob, but I’m not buying it. Time off freshens up a horse, too. You and your owner should have made the decision to retire the stakes gelding that already won $250,000. Why squeeze the lemon dry?

  3. Jeri says:

    Not sure why people are defending him. The evidence points to a trainer running a horse to its death and knowing he was in bad shape. Other trainers would have just retired him.

  4. Candace says:

    I appreciate that you felt you had to explain yourself, but it was not needed. You are a professional and have always been. Things happen that hurt and get people talking. You are held in high reguards to the people that matter most. Social media is not always a good thing. You train like like you care for the horses and that is noticed by the ones who follow you. Glad you did share, that shows just how professional you are. So very sorry for your loss and all the connections envolved. See you at the races.

  5. I am sorry for the loss of Tweebster and I know how you care for your horses. I am sorry that there are those who feel the need to add conflict and sorrow to such a sad event. For those of us who do know you, I am so sorry for all of you guys. Owners, trainer, grooms, many had a lot of hopes and dreams in that horse and alot of love.

  6. Becky says:

    I am so sorry…my sympathy.

  7. Pat Beck says:

    I’m so terribly sorry for you, Bob, and for Tweebster. It’s heartwrenching, to say the least.

  8. Barbara says:

    Thank you, Bob Baffert, for your care and comments in the face of nasty comments from the clueless. My condolences toyou, your staff and the connections. Rest in peace, Tweebster, we are so sorry.

  9. Karen says:

    I think it’s important for people in horse racing to speak up when they are being accused of such heinous behavior. I’m glad to see Bob Baffert do so.

    • jerry says:

      Do you think the statement was written by Mr. Baffert.Have you watched him speak before those were not his words.His lawyer or some PR person wrote it for him.That’s how much he care’s about that poor horse.

  10. Lisa says:

    Some of the things people have been saying about the Tweebster situation are rude at absolute best. They don’t know the entire situation and have no right to judge based on limited information. We are all sad about the death of this horse, but blaming the trainer is not the answer.

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