insert photo of me & Bob Baffert here
Last year, Bob Baffert came to Lone Star Park to win the Texas Mile (gr. 3) with Preachinatthebar (that’s another racehorse, Chuck). And according to All Around Good Guy Manager, John Records, the trainer had mingled with the prominent members of the Jockey Club prior to the race – taking time to have his picture taken with many of the patrons. It was after this Photo-Fest that John said to me, “Had I known where to find you [read: obviously not in the Jockey Club], I would have brought you along so you could’ve had your picture taken with him.”
But that was last year.
This year when Bob Baffert descended to North Texas, I was prepared. I was going to locate the All Around Good Guy Manager, drop a not-so-subtle reminder of last year’s Bob-Baffert-Picture-Taking-Event that I missed and indicate that this year I had brought my camera and maybe ???????
I easily located John, however he was on a very serious mission: one of the track patrons had a burning desire to meet jockey, John Jacinto. Apparently, this illustrious horse racing fan only bets on John Jacinto and has reaped many financial rewards.
John: Hey! You want to come along with us over to the paddock?
Me: (excitedly) Really?!?
John: Sure. You can take the pictures.
So, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet John Jacinto. Well, actually, I had the wonderful opportunity to see Horseplayer Matthew meet John Jacinto. And it was great because Matthew is a big fan. Well, he's not really big. It's just that John would be small, which of course is a good thing because he would be a jockey.
After small talk, autographed goggles exchange, and photos our little group dispersed.
And there I stood in a sea of humanity lamenting another opportunity missed. There would be no Bob Baffert for me. There would be no chance to have my picture taken with the notable trainer. I would not be able to inquire which horse he favored in the Derby, or if he ever had a breakfast taquito at Whataburger and if he had, does he prefer his bacon, potato, or sausage in his taquito.
As it turned out, Bob Baffert didn’t even get to have his picture taken in the Winner’s Circle. Bob and John came in second to Silent Pleasure in the Texas Mile.