Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Conan chases down irate alleged horse-doper and cancel culture critic Bob Baffert

Conan O’Brien, “Bob Baffert”
Conan O’Brien, “Bob Baffert”
Screenshot: Conan

For rich white people aghast at facing consequences for their actions for a change, Fox News presents an irresistibly cushy, hair-stroking landing spot. That’s where, this week, renowned horse racing magnate Bob Baffert turned when one of his horses, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, got busted for doping. Or, rather, Baffert got busted for allegedly doping an animal (who’d rather be left alone eating hay and being a horse) with a banned substance (steroid betamethasone) so it would run fast enough to make Baffert a whole lot of money. (Or get shot in the head for daring to breaking a leg after being forced to compete against other horses.)

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Baffert himself has strenuously denied any wrongdoing, despite his horsie facing the prospect of being stripped of its Kentucky Derby title, which would be given to presumably cheat-free second place horsie Mandaloun. (Neither Medina Spirit nor Mandaloun could be reached for comment, as they are horses.) Luckily for Baffert, Fox News is always here for the excuses of the red-handed wealthy, especially if said suspect is prepared to blame their own misdeeds on one of Fox News’ hot-button propaganda targets, and Baffert’s baffling explanation that him (allegedly) slipping a mickey to a horse is only being called out because of—wait for it—“cancel culture” was right in Fox’s victimhood-fantasy wheelhouse.

Most of the late-night shows had some fun at Baffert’s expense, (at least The Late Show talked to Medina Spirit himself), and at the expense of an increasingly disgraced former president who either called a horse a “junky,” or blamed Joe Biden, or both (it’s not entirely clear). But only Conan O’Brien had the guts, the contacts, and the cheap wig to bring Baffert on the air in person (of someone else) to answer these allegations. Appearing remotely, the not-Baffert doubled down hard on his Fox-y rant against [checks notes to confirm] “cancel culture” for yet another of his expensively conditioned horses testing positive for doping being doped. And while, sure, five of Baffert’s equine athletes have similarly tested positive in the last year or so (making it some 29 doped horses in his career), that didn’t stop this Baffert from bemoaning the “gut-punch” of what he claims is a totally surprising drug test.

“Everything’s illegal with the woke mob,” not-Baffert complained, explaining that he’s been forced to change the names of horses like “Sweet Tits,” “Sir Farts-A-Lot,” and even “Carpet Munch” just because of political correctness. But Conan wasn’t having it, pressing his guest on the latest doping-for-cash scandal that’s seen the legendary trainer banned (along with his probably unconcerned horses) from Kentucky Derby host Churchill Downs. That’s all the motivation a privileged millionaire celebrity needs to truly go off, however, as this Baffert mocked all the PC horse apples he has to deal with, like not feeding his losing horses to his greyhounds, or recognizing his horses’ jockeys as human beings instead of keeping the diminutive horse-pilots in cages and feeding them (in-season) pinecones.

“This Gen Z, cancel culture woke mob,” according to someone who was definitely Bob Baffert, is really cutting into all his businesses, running through his perfectly legitimate animal competitions in everything from cockfighting to dogfighting to every conceivable combination in between. “Woke mob!,” was this completely genuine Bob Baffert’s refrain every time Conan tried to challenge his perfectly normal habits of only racing guy horses (since female horses aren’t funny), or sending his four-legged charges pictures of his genitals while he fumes that the semen of a horse he owns might not be worth quite as much on the champion horse-semen market.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.