The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, almost always on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The competition is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds at a distance of one and a quarter miles at Churchill Downs.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby, NBC Sports host Mike Tirico spoke with Bob Baffert, a Hall of Fame trainer and six-time Kentucky Derby winner, and Bill Belichick, a six-time Super Bowl champion as head coach of the New England Patriots. Belichick is a horse-racing enthusiast who has attended multiple Triple Crown races, including the Kentucky Derby.
The conversation will air during NBC Sports’ presentation of the 147th Kentucky Derby tomorrow, Saturday, May 1, beginning at 2:30PM ET on NBC. To watch the interview, click here.
Baffert and Belichick discuss the similarities between them, the mutual admiration they have for each other, and the challenges of winning consistently at the highest level.
With a win in this year’s Kentucky Derby, Baffert – who trains Media Spirit (15-1) – would earn his seventh career Derby victory, breaking a tie with Ben Jones for the most ever by a trainer. Belichick has won more Super Bowls than any head coach in NFL history.
Following are highlights from Tirico’s conversation with Baffert and Belichick:
Belichick on horse racing and Baffert’s success: “Racing is a tough profession. You get one shot at it. There’s no halftime, there’s no timeouts to make adjustments. Once they come out of the gate, that’s it. You have two minutes to win, and that’s an incredible skill.”
Baffert on similarities between himself and Belichick: “What we have in common is that we do get good players, but we know what to do with them when we get them.”
Baffert on sustained winning: “It’s harder because it’s expected of you. We expect Bill Belichick to win the Super Bowl every year.”
Belichick on dealing with a loss: “We have had a couple weeks that haven’t gone so good, but you just snap out of it and bounce back. You just turn the page and go ‘on to Cincinnati.’”
Baffert on the motivation to continue to win: “I’m like Bill. I love the competition. I love every year, ‘Who’s going to be the next star?’ Are we going to have another American Pharaoh? Another Justified? … I just concentrate on what I have to do and just block out the noise.”
Tirico: “As soon as you said, ‘Block out the noise,’ that was the biggest smile and head nod I’ve seen from Bill in years!”
Belichick: “I’m going to use that one, Bob. ‘Block out the noise.’ I love that.”