TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The National 4-H Council honored racehorse trainer, Bob Baffert, a two-time Triple Crown winner, with the Distinguished 4-H Alumni Medallion on Tuesday, March 12 at a dinner and celebration in Washington, D.C.
Baffert and his seven siblings grew up on a working cattle ranch and chicken farm in Nogales, Arizona, where they were involved in 4-H. He gives credit to 4-H for his ability to look for talent in a horse.
"I went to judging seminars and competitions through my local 4-H," Baffert said. "This was really helpful because it taught me how to look at the conformation of an animal."
Baffert started out as a jockey, winning his first race at age 17, before taking up training. He graduated from the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program in 1977 and has gone on to win the Eclipse Award as the nation's Outstanding Trainer four times. His horses have won seven Preakness stakes, five Kentucky derbies and three Belmont stakes.
"Bob Baffert is one example of how 4-H can provide opportunities for young people. 4-H's unique program design connects young people with many caring adults, and older and younger youth in a learning environment," said Arizona 4-H Youth Development Program Director Jeremy Elliott-Engel. "This space allows for young people to grow in their understanding that they can learn, they can teach, and they can make positive decisions that better their own lives and the lives of those around them."
The 4-H program is implemented by the nation’s land-grant colleges and universities through the Cooperative Extension system. In Arizona, UA Cooperative Extension administers county-based programs, events and activities, with agents and clubs in counties and reservations across the state.