"I don't forget people who helped me," says Baffert. "Gary Stevens took care of me and he rode a Kentucky Derby winner of ours."
Long gone as he might have been without help, here is someone who had the second-place horse in this year's Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.
"Second is better than third," says Baffert, who already has three Derby winners.
Baffert begins this Breeders' Cup weekend with 10 horses, including the favorite in the Classic, Game On Dude, owned by Joe Torre.
"If Joe was a horse, he'd be Game On Dude," Baffert says. "What a nice man."
Instead of a couple of stalls at Santa Anita, he now has two stables. He's big time now, but bigger yet when he begins talking about his affection, gratitude and admiration for his parents, Ellie and Bill Baffert.
"I find myself reaching for my cellphone to call them when something happens with my son," he says. "I'm always thinking about them. It's like, who is going to watch over me; it's like I'm an orphan.
"I remember talking to my [7-year-old] son about my dad dying and he saying something like, 'Game over.' Everyone laughing and I'm wanting to call my dad and tell him."
Ellie Baffert died last year after a lengthy struggle with kidney disease; Bill passed in September.
"I always knew I had two fans watching on TV," Baffert says. "My mom would always say, 'Make sure my little baby, my son, Bode, is on there' when we would appear on TV. That's the only reason why we would put him on TV — for my mother. He kept her going."
Bill Baffert, aka "The Chief," owned a ranch, placing son and horses together. Bob, or Bob-o as his father called him, began as a jockey, winning more than 20 races before he began eating and graduated to trainer.
So many stories to tell, so many big races to come later in Baffert's life, but maybe his biggest thrill is leaving a quarter horse in his father's name and care. And then getting a breathless call from his mother after the horse wins a big race.
"My dad talked about that the rest of his life," Baffert says. "It was a thank-you to him for everything he did.
"Now as for my mom, who always wanted me to get a real job, I'm still looking for one."
Baffert is healthy now, 20 pounds lighter but still loaded with great horses. He says he feels like his game clock has been reset and he now has more time.
It's the best news to happen to horse racing in awhile, the winner's circle this weekend waiting for his appearance. Again. Or, as good as he is at what he does, maybe again, again and again.