Braulio Baeza
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Baeza and Arts & Letters

1969 Arts & LettersClick here to view photos

WP*:What do you remember about Arts and Letters as a mount?
BB: He was a nice horse.
WP: Did he have any vices?
BB: Yeah, sure. He became alcoholic. Used to beat up his wife. (Giggles)
WP: Yeah right.
BB: I got the mount when Shoemaker got hurt.
WP: How did Shoemaker get hurt that time?
BB: I think that was when he broke his pelvis getting on a horse in the paddock. I think that was it. Shoemaker won the Bluegrass with Arts and Letters and then I got him for the Derby.
WP: How did you ride him in the Derby?
BB: I came off the pace with him.
WP: Did you think Majestic Prince was a better horse at that time?
BB: For that race he was. Then Arts and Letters started getting better. He started to turn around after that race.
WP: Did you decide to ride him differently in the Preakness?

BB: No, not really. The trainer (Elliott Burch) never gave me too many instructions. He told me that I was the one riding the horses. I should’ve won that Preakness. Majestic Prince fouled me twice. It took the stewards a very long time to decide. They never take horses down in the Preakness.
WP: How did Majestic Prince foul you twice?
BB: He cut me off coming out of the gate and then again turning for home.
WP: You never claimed foul too often.
BB: No. Most of the time when I claimed foul, they took numbers down.
WP: So what did you think about the two horses after the Preakness?
BB: I thought I was on the best horse. I thought I should’ve beaten him that day. I knew I was going to beat him. I didn’t ride Arts and Letters in his next start. Cruguet won with him in the Metropolitan Mile. I think I was on Vitriolic. I was riding Vitriolic for Mr. Phipps.
WP: So you got the mount back in the Belmont?
BB: Yes. That was the only reason Cruguet rode him. Besides, the horse carried 110 pounds (laughs).
WP: So how did you decide to go to the lead with Arts and Letters?
BB: I didn’t. He was coming off a mile race. I just stayed close up and I wanted to stay ahead of Majestic Prince. The pace was very slow, so I stayed close to it.
WP: Once you got to the lead, you looked back. What were you looking for?
BB: I was looking for him.
WP: What exactly were you looking for?
BB: I was waiting for him to come to me.
WP: Was he coming?
BB: Yes. When he started coming to me before the eighth pole, I stepped on the gas. Byyyyeeeeee!
WP: Then you knew you had it won?
BB: He was driving harder than me and not gaining anything--before I put my horse in overdrive.
WP: Was Arts and Letters a sound horse?
BB: Very sound.
WP: What else can you tell me about him?
BB: He became a champ. He won everything in site.
WP: Like what?
BB: The Gold Cup. The Woodward. The Travers. He became Champion Horse of the Year.
WP: Thank you.
If you have any questions you’d like answered about Arts and Letters, or any other horse Mr. Baeza used to ride, send an e-mail to
*WP stands for Web Page

Photo of Baeza on Arts & Letters
Baeza and Arts & Letters
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