Kentucky Derby News: Bob Baffert’s Muth Blocks Favorite-To-Win Timberlake From 2024 Race

Published 04/02/2024, 8:29 PM EDT

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Bob Baffert’s horses continue to make records while he still serves his 2024 ban from the racecourses. In the Arkansas Derby (G1), the legendary trainer pulled off the show when Brad Cox remained his opponent. In the past occasions in the Arkansas Derby, Cox claimed two back-to-back renewals. This time, his stake was in Timberlake. Timberlake was a potential performer for the Kentucky Derby on May 4. On the other hand, Bob Baffert was waiting for his fifth victory in the Derby with a 3-year-old thoroughbred, Muth.

In the end, Bob Baffert’s stake won the race, giving him the tag of the most successful horse trainer in the Arkansas Derby. But with the defeat, Brad Cox had to swallow bitter pills. The defeat to Muth paid Timberlake dearly as trainer Brad Cox took a call to stay away from the Kentucky Derby.

Bob Baffert spoils the other one’s party 

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The DRF reported that 2-year-old Timberlake will not appear in the Kentucky Derby. Shedding more light on the matter, Brad Cox said, “Based on the performance over the weekend, we are not going to run in the Kentucky Derby.” Previously, Timberlake showcased some fiery performances, participating under the owners of Siena Farm and WinStar Farm. However, the Arkansas Derby (G1) from March 30 proved to be a juggernaut for the equine. 

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Being a 6-5 favorite, there in Oaklawn Park, Timberlake cared less about challenging the opponents. However, Bob Baffert’s Muth overpowered him, defeating him by 6 ¾ lengths. The loss felt so heavy as Timberlake moved to fourth position in the March 30 race. Now both the equines would have to face an impasse. 

As Bob Baffert is still serving his banning order, Muth cannot compete in the Kentucky Derby on May 4. The thoroughbred might appear in Preakness in Baltimore in mid-May. Timberlake’s next race is yet to be settled. However, in their absence, another equine might find the Kentucky Derby an easy run. 

The Kentucky Derby picture is heating up 

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Fierceness, the 2-year-old thoroughbred from Repole Stable, won the Kentucky Derby twice. The reigning champion has been in an uncompromising mood this season. In the Florida Derby (G1) in March, Fierceness decimated his opponents by 13 ½ lengths. Last year, in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile, Fierceness earned the top position.

On that occasion at Santa Anita Park, the thoroughbred earned a similar point as he did in the Florida Derby last week. So, in the Kentucky Derby, Todd A. Pletcher-trained horse will look forward to owning the hat trick this time. However, Japanese challengers will also be there to oppose the American thoroughbreds. 

Track Phantom Gallops Closer to Kentucky Derby 2024 With Commanding Win at Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes

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Forever Young, trained by Yoshito Yahagi, was in the third position in the Kentucky Derby leaderboard last year. However, the 3-year-old thoroughbred has been on a continuous journey of winning races for the last several months. This year, the Japanese horse won the UAE Derby. His earnings have been on a stellar rise as well. So, in the absence of Muth and Timberlake, the battle between Fierceness and Forever Young might be the stunner. 

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Written by:

Prasun Chakrabarty

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Prasun Chakrabarty is an Olympic Sports Writer for EssentiallySports, who specializes in covering aquatic arena events. Post his experiences with popular publications including PinkVilla, Prasun began his days in ES, by actively covering two prime events - 2023 US Open Swimming Championships and the 2024 TYR Pro Swim Series. Prasun's coverage extends beyond the pool, and he takes specific interest in the progress of the triangular rivalry between track and field stars, Sha’Carri Richardson, Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. You can follow him on:-
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Edited by:

Bhujaya Ray Chowdhury