What do you remember about Buckkpasser as a mount?
BB: You had to be alert on him at all times or hed dump you. Hed
prop and wheel.
WP: Did he go running off, bucking?
BB: Not really. Hed just jog around a little bit. He didnt
WP: So why do you think he did it?
BB: He was a little on the playful side. He was the type of horse that
as soon as he got to the lead, hed pull himself up.
WP: He figured hed won the race and thats
WP: You got on him in the mornings a few times.
How did you work him in the mornings?
BB: He had to have a horse to run at in the works. He was a lousy worker.
WP: You mean he didnt try too hard if he worked
BB: Yes. He loved the competition. We used to have relays of horses to
pick him at the different poles, otherwise hed just work average.
And we had to get a work into him. He didnt run every other week,
like some horses. He only ran in stakes every month or so. By himself,
he just galloped along. He resented being hit with the whip. He was on
the temperamental side. One time I hit him with the whip and he took a
left turn. A couple times he didnt want to draw away and so I hit
him. He ducked in from the whip. It was a good thing I was clear of the
other horse. At first, hed give me a good run and draw away by about
two lengths, then hed put the brakes on and his ears would go up.
WP: So how did you get him to win so many times?
BB: I had to time my move properly. So that when I went to the lead, the
wire was right there.
WP: What happened to precipitate the scratch of
Buckpasser at Rockingham Park in the New Hampshire Derby in 67?
BB: I went up to Rockingham to work Buckpasser before the race and he
didnt want to work. I had to make him do it. His quarter crack was
bothering him. He was refusing to work. This was before they had patches
and those other things to help the horses.
WP: What happened when you got back to the barn?
BB: Mr. Neloy asked me how he worked and I said, No good.
Then he said what happened and I said something is bothering him and he
WP: Then what did he say?
BB: That was Wednesday or Thursday before the race. He told me Buckpasser
would be 1-10 in the race and asked me if I would ride him. I said no.
If he ran him, I didnt want to ride him because he was not going
WP: Then what did Mr. Neloy say to that?
BB: Okay. Were not running. Then he called the press and told them
that I scratched the horse. So the press all came down on me. The people
who owned the track were very upset with me. But I didnt want to
be responsible for the horse getting beat. He wasnt going to win
and I didnt want to be on him. I didnt think he could win
in the condition he was in.
WP: What was his next race after that?
BB: Maybe a month or six weeks later. Whatever it was, he won it.
WP: What lead up to his retirement?
BB: The next to last race, he struggled to win it. He really put his heart
out to win that race. He struggled to win it. He won it on his heart alone.
He had the heart of a champion. His last race he didnt win. He couldnt
do it. He wasnt putting out. The quarter crack was bothering him
too much. And almost every time he ran, hed have to carry high weight.
WP: Thank you.
If you have any questions youd like answered about Buckpasser, or
any other horse Mr. Baeza used to ride, send an e-mail to:
*WP stands for Web