Bob Baffert reacts to being the bad guy in '50 To 1'
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is repeatedly depicted as the sneering face of the racing establishment in the new film about Mine That Bird's improbable 2009 Kentucky Derby victory. Though Baffert said Wednesday he had not seen the movie, he has heard enough about it to be annoyed.
"Chip Woolley told me, 'You were the only nice guy to me all week and they made you a rotten son of a gun in the movie,' " Baffert said, recounting a conversation with Mine That Bird's trainer. "I had an owner call me up in Arkansas and tell me, "Man, you ought to sue.' They made me the villain."
Director Jim Wilson's film traces the improbable path Woolley and Mine That Bird's owners took to the winner's circle at Churchill Downs.
Wilson, who is also credited among the film's writers, says he has known Baffert for 25 years, and that, "he can be pretty arrogant at times."
As the trainer of three Derby winners and 2009 runner-up Pioneerof The Nile, Baffert also made for a convenient and familiar foil.
"If you take a shot at somebody," Wilson said, "Baffert's the guy."
"They knocked Bobby a little bit," said jockey Calvin Borel, who plays himself in the film. "You know how Bobby is."
White-haired actor Bruce Wayne Eckelman plays Baffert with his trademark sunglasses, but without the humor that often lightens some of the trainer's more caustic comments.
"Everybody knows that horse doesn't belong here," Eckelman says of Mine That Bird in one scene. "Frankly, I wouldn't be worried if they had God riding for them.''
Baffert compared the portrayal to that of the late trainer Pancho Martin in Disney's "Secretariat." Martin, who trained the rival three-year-old Sham, was shown as obnoxious and belligerent in an effort to create an antagonist in the story of a surpassing thoroughbred whose Triple Crown campaign was short on real drama.
Baffert, by comparison, comes off as snide but not combative, and is shown in his last scene giving a grudgingly gracious post-race interview about Mine That Bird's connections.
"I'm the only one who would talk to them all week 'cause I knew them," Baffert said Wednesday outside his barn. "I knew those guys (from) the quarterhorse business. For some reason, Jim Wilson and those guys, they never asked me. That's not me at all. ...
"But what are you going to do? Luckily, I don't think very many people are going to see that movie. I don't think I have anything to worry about."
World's fastest man has equine rival - Usain Colt
The 3-year-old thoroughbred named after the world's fastest man is being lined up for several races in Britain this summer, and his owners hope Usain Bolt will meet his equine namesake while he is in London for the Olympics.
Trying to schedule an appointment with the three-time Olympic champion is proving difficult, however, with the opening ceremony for London Games only two days away.
Bolt has been training in seclusion on a track at the University of Birmingham, a facility surrounded by thick bushes and patrolled by security.
''Usain Bolt is not the easiest person to get a hold of these days, but I'd like to hope that Usain Colt's chance to meet him after the Olympics would be boosted if the horse wins a race this summer,'' said Jake Warren, one of the horse's handlers.
Warren said Usain Colt deserves his name even though he has only won once - a year ago in Newbury.
''He's quite a big horse. He's very athletically built and has lots of character,'' Warren said. ''He's a laid-back horse with a big personality and has a presence like no other.
''Not other than Bolt, of course.''
The horse is owned by Ascot Racecourse. Prince Harry is believed to have joined the Birdcage Racing Club run by Ascot, whose 100 members pay an annual fee and share any prize money earned by Usain Colt. Their aim is to promote the sport amid dwindling interest during the hard economic times.
Bolt is aware of Usain Colt's existence.
When Prince Harry visited Jamaica earlier this year, he met Bolt and showed him a picture of the thoroughbred. Bolt was quoted as saying that ''to have a race horse named after you by someone who owns it like Prince Harry for me is an honor.''
''He's going to do great, takes time, work his way up,'' Bolt said of the horse.
Like Bolt, Usain Colt has also had problems with his starts in the past year. He was forced out of the Royal Ascot meet, horse racing's biggest event in Britain, and pulled from a recent race in Ireland because rain made the track too soft for him to run.
Usain Colt returned to the track on Wednesday for a seven-furlong race at Sandown. He finished second in a field of 10.
''He had an amazing sprint at the end, but was held too far back by the jockey in the beginning and ended a length and half behind the winner,'' Warren said. ''We hoped he'd win, but we hope that the good performance on the track will bring some good luck to Bolt's Olympic 100 race.''
2015 Kentucky Derby Odds
Kentucky Derby week is one of the most thrilling times of the year. This race is known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate time length.
Check 2015 KY Derby Schedule May 1 and 24 at Sportsbook.com
Odds to Win 2015 Kentucky Derby
March Madness Bracket
$100K MARCH MADNESS BRACKET CONTEST
The biggest March Madness contest just got bigger.This year Sportsbook.ag is splitting a guaranteed $100,000 in cash among our Top 5 March Madness Bracket contestants. Plus awarding a combined $5,000 in Free Bets to 1,000 other members.Play for a whopping $75,000 first-place prize when you buy your first entry for just $15. Additional entries costs little as $5 and buying multiple brackets gives you the chance to take home the entire $100K prize pot.
Here’s a breakdown of the prizes:
1st Place $75,000
2nd Place $12,500
3rd Place $7,500
4th Place $3,500
5th Place $1,500
6th to 1,005th $5 Free Bet
Visit Sportsbook.ag for an early buy-in and to make your picks