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"Dirt Road to the Derby" is a delightful cross between a (Johnny) Carson monologue and a more traditional racing autobiography. While the laughs are plentiful, there is also much to learn from Baffert's incredible success.The importance of a strong family, his own desire for success and perseverance in achieving his goals, an enduring and supporting friendship with Mike Pegram, owner of Real Quiet and super filly Silverbulletday, and a quick wit and availability to the press all helped build Baffert into the national sports celebrity he is today. -- The Trentonian, October 21,1999
The irreverent silver-haired Baffert traces his colorful and eventful rise from the Quarter Horse tracks of his native southwest to the winner's circles at Churchill Downs and Dubai. "Baffert" is lively, refreshing and informative: a thoroughly good read. We recommend it. -- Daily Racing Form, October 22, 1999
What separates this from the majority of sports autobiographies is Baffert's willingness to acknowledge the bumps he created himself in the road to success. He writes about his experiences with drugs in high school. He is candid about an early mistake in his training career when he allowed a man he ``barely knew'' to give one of his horses some ``stuff'' to help win the race. The horse didn't, but Baffert was caught and suspended for a year in California. When Baffert does criticize others, he has credence because he has built a glass house around himself.
This book comes alive when Baffert is doing what he does best aside from training: telling stories. There has been a steady stream of Runyonesque characters in his career, and he seems to remember them all.
The book doesn't give away any of Baffert's trade secrets, but it offers plenty of insight into the racing game to make it revealing for most fans. For those who don't follow the sport but enjoy reading about successful people, there is worthy material as well. -- Kenny Rice, The Lexington Herald-Leader, Dec. 5, 1999
In his candid and often hilarious autobiography, "Dirt Road to the Derby", Baffert recounts growing up in a tiny Arizona border town, where he peddled eggs after school and started riding his families Quarter Horses. His early exploits as a jockey provide a fascinating glimpse of racing at the "bush tracks" of the Southwest, complete with shoot-outs and rigged races. After college and a fitful start as a Quarter Horse trainer, Baffert finally hits the big time in that sport.
But his real adventures begin when he strikes up a friendship with Mike Pegram, who bankrolled his entry into Thoroughbred racing. After losing the 1996 Kentucky Derby by a whisker, Baffert vows to return. The very next year, he achieves celebrity when he wins the Run for the Roses with the modestly bred Silver Charm. In 1998, he does it again with Real Quiet, who cost him just $17,000.
The Charm and a cast of other good horses take Baffert to the peak of his profession. He is in demand as a trainer by the richest and most influential people in racing. "Although I always wanted to be the best, I never dreamed of getting to where I am now," he writes. "I was just some kid from Arizona who couldn't even put a halter on a horse. To dream of attaining what I have would be like someone dreaming of becoming president."
Despite his success, which includes winning two Eclipse Awards as outstanding trainer, Baffert retains his sense of humor and fun-loving ways. "Dirt Road to the Derby" will make you laugh out loud. Hold on to your hat and enjoy the ride.
A good read about one of the top racehorse trainers in America today. It was interesting to read how he rose to the top to win the Kentucky Derby.Published on November 5, 2012 by Animal Lover
Bob should stay to training horses, this book is poorly organized and written on a grade school level. Read morePublished on August 6, 2002 by Jason V Lang
This is an entertaining, informative and personal glimpse of a fine trainer and the world of horse racing. It is very current. Read morePublished on November 19, 1999 by margaret johnson (email@example.com)