‘Justify’ Trainer Bob Baffert Compares 2018 Kentucky Derby Winner To LeBron James, American Pharoah

The five-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer offered high praise for the latest ‘run for the roses’ victor.

Michael ReavesGetty Images

Bob Baffert knows a thing or two about horses. Having trained five horses that have won the Kentucky Derby over more than 20 years, it’s fair to say his opinion is valid. Over the weekend, he told TMZ that his latest winner, Justify, was not unlike current NBA king LeBron James.

“You know what? I’ve got really good clientele, they put a lot of money up. They’re serious about it. We have a good staff. It’s like being a coach. You get LeBron, you’d better win,” Baffert said when asked to what he’d attribute his success.

When asked about his comparison to LeBron James, Baffert doubled down.

“Oh, he looks like LeBron. He’s big, powerful, athletic, fast. Very rare. Very rare. He’s a beast.”

The obvious follow-up when discussing a Derby-winning horse is whether or not that horse has a chance at capturing the coveted and rare Triple Crown by winning the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in the same year.

“Well, we’ve got to get to the next one first. That’s a ways off. He’s good, though,” Baffert said non-noncommittally.

TMZ’s interviewer then asked Baffert how Justify, who won the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby over the weekend on May 5, stacks up against his last winner, American Pharoah, who won the Triple Crown in 2015.

“Oh, he’s up there with him, yeah. Outstanding horse.”

null

Justify’s quest for a potential Triple Crown will have to follow the same path as American Pharoah, the last Baffert-trained horse to win either the Preakness or the Belmont. With the Preakness Stakes coming up just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, those questions will be answered sooner than Baffert was willing to let on. But one thing going in Justify’s favor is that the colt has already made history by breaking the Curse of Apollo.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, the Curse of Apollo was a superstition born of the fact that no horse, dating back to 1882, had won the Kentucky Derby without having competed in at least one race as a 2-year-old. Justify and one-time favorite Magnum Moon were both up against the curse, but only Justify was able to break it.