Braulio Baeza
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Baeza and Dr. Fager in the post parade

1968 Dr. FagerClick here to view photos

WP*: What do you remember about Dr. Fager as a mount?
BB: One of the fastest horses alive. One of the fastest horses on the track. He could punch a hole in the wind.
WP: He was a big horse, wasn’t he?
BB: Yes.
WP: Was he wide?
BB: Just big all over. He was not a massive horse. Just a big horse. He was tall. Buckpasser was a very narrow horse as a two-year-old. Then he matured as a three-year-old.
WP: Powerful?
BB: Very powerful. Up to a mile, I don’t think there was a horse that could beat him. At that time anyway. Even though we stretched him out and he won races at a mile and a quarter, his forte was under a mile, especially those one turn miles. Fageddaboutit. (Laughs) He was the type of horse that was big and strong and you could just sit back against him and streamline yourself into the wind. One time at Rockingham Park, In Reality came alongside him on the inside and I had a good hold on Dr. Fager. Dr. Fager put his ears back and lunged at In Reality to savage him like a dog. I pulled him off the other horse into the air. That’s how competitive he was. He didn’t want to see any horse in front of him. He set track records at almost every track he went. He was a real free-running horse. I rated him a few times, but he resented it and he fought me.
WP: What else?
BB: The day he set the world record at Arlington Park, he won by ten. I was easing him up at the quarter pole. I looked back and no one was coming. If I knew he was setting the world record, all I had to do was chirp to him and he would’ve lowered the record even more. His speed was deceiving because he had such a long, smooth stride that he ate up so much ground. The last time he ran, he carried 139 pounds and he ran the 7 furlongs in 1:20. I knew it was his last race, so I didn’t want to abuse him. No one was coming so I relaxed on him. I had the brakes on from the quarter pole.
WP: Was he a sound horse?
BB: Pretty much. He missed the Triple Crown for some reason.
WP: Did Dr. Fager savage other horses in the barn, or just in the races?
BB: Just in the races.
WP: What about Dr. Fager versus Damascus?
BB: Dr. Fager could beat Damascus even in his sleep. The only way Damascus ever beat Dr. Fager was if a rabbit was in the race. Dr. Fager didn’t want to see any horse in front of him.
WP: You won the Champion Grass Horse of the Year with him.
BB: Yes. At Atlantic City. He beat the champion, Fort Marcy.
WP: How did he handle the turf?
BB: Not too good. He kept slipping and sliding. Wasn’t leveling off, getting ahold of it. Like he was on roller skates. I had to keep picking him up. But he won. He won four championships that year: the Sprint Champion, Grass Champion, Handicap Champion and Horse of the Year.
WP: Anything else you want to say about Dr. Fager?
BB: He was one of my favorite horses to ride.
WP: Thank you.
If you have any questions you’d like answered about Dr. Fager, or any other horse Mr. Baeza used to ride, send an e-mail to:
*WP stands for Web Page

Baeza and Dr. Fager running in the United Nations
Dr. Fager win photo
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