After Omaha Beach scratched, Game Winner became the favorite heading into the Kentucky Derby. Game Winner is one of three horses that has the backing of trainer Bob Baffert, but he is considered the one with the best chance to find the Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs.
Gary and Mary West purchased Game Winner for $110,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, per ESPN. Game Winner’s jockey is Joel Rosario, who has already won a Kentucky Derby. Game Winner’s sire is Candy Ride and dam is Indyan Giving. Candy Ride won all six of his races and also sired Gun Runner, per America’s Best Racing.
Game Winner started out hot with four straight victories at the MSW, Del Mar, American Pharoah’s Stakes and Breeder’s Cup. The horse finished second in his last two outings at the Rebel Stakes and Santa Anita Derby.
“I didn’t see Game Winner again until the day he broke his maiden at Del Mar,” West told ESPN. “Bobby [Bob Baffert] said, ‘Gary, this horse has got some ability, but he doesn’t have much speed. This is not the right distance for the horse, but he needs a race in him.'”
Learn more about Game Winner’s jockey, owners and trainer.
Game Winner’s Jockey: Joel Rosario
Rosario has earned $193.97 million over his career and $7 million so far in 2019, per Equibase. Rosario is originally from the Dominican Republic and moved to California in 2006, per America’s Best Racing. He won the Kentucky Derby guiding Orb in 2013.
Game Winner’s Owners: Gary and Mary West
The Wests have a $450,000 insurance policy that only pays out if Game Winner cannot breed. ESPN detailed that Game Winner is valued at $15 million.
FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS. That’s how much Game Winner’s life is worth, according to the $450,000-a-year insurance policy that his owners, Gary and Mary West, have on him. It pays out only if he cannot breed when his racing career is over. In a half-ton animal that literally sleeps standing up, this would likeliest be caused by the kind of catastrophic injury whose only treatment is death.
Game Winner’s $15 million value is a 3,309 percent return on the $110,000 investment made at Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale in 2017.
Game Winner’s Trainer: Bob Baffert
Game Winner is just one of three horses Baffert has in the Kentucky Derby. Roadster and Improbable make up the rest of the trio.
“Great trainers and great jockeys keep a horse from getting beat,” Baffert explained the Los Angeles Times. “That’s our job. I think there are a lot of great trainers out there, but they don’t get the chances.”
As for Game Winner’s chances, West noted that Baffert has been able to get the best out of their prized horse.
“Bobby has tried just about everything in the book to figure out how to get inside a horse’s head,” West noted to ESPN. “You can’t teach talent to untalented people. And you can’t make a slow racehorse run fast.”