Last weekend, as I sat in my living room watching Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, I was amused to see cast member Beck Bennett doing a hilarious impersonation of local hero, Bob Baffert. The impersonation was a little over-the-top, in true SNL style, but hilarious nonetheless.

If you aren't already aware, Bob Baffert is a champion horse breeder whose horses have won seven Kentucky Derbies and Preakness Stakes, three Belmont Stakes, three Kentucky Oaks and two Triple Crowns. He also happens to be from Nogales and a member of the Baffert family, whose roots run deep in the local community.

If you've paid attention to the news of late, you may be aware that his horse Medina Spirit tested positive for a performance enhancing drug shortly after his big win at this year's Kentucky Derby. This resulted in Baffert being banned from the track indefinitely. It's big news. So big that he has become the first Nogalense to get impersonated on SNL. That's pretty huge. Unfortunately, not in a good way.

Nogales loves Bob Baffert. Local artists have painted him. I think there was even talk about the city commissioning a bust of him at one point. For a small city like Nogales that gets generally negative press, it feels good to have a local make it big. Perhaps, though, we should consider our heroes more carefully.

I'm not here to throw dirt on the Baffert name. It's not my place to say he is truly guilty of this or not. But there is reason to suspect. Let's look at facts:

Over the last 40 years, 30 of Baffert's horses have failed drug tests. Five of those have occurred in the last year. Of the winners that ended up testing positive, Baffert has generally been able to wash his hands of guilt by pleading ignorance, or with an excuse of contaminated food or accidental dosing from a trainer.

Maybe Baffert isn't dosing his horses. Medina Spirit did in fact test negative prior to the Preakness Stakes last weekend, but the horse ended up performing relatively poorly.

If there is dosing going on in Baffert's organization, it could be the trainers, and Baffert may not know anything about it. But that would mean he might not really know what's going on with his horses.

And then, of course, there is the possibility that all 30 of these failed drug tests are the result of food contamination, accidental needle sticks and faulty tests. I am in no way involved in the process so I can't definitively say one way or the other. But if a boxing trainer had 30 of his fighters test positive for steroids, we would lose all confidence in them.

But hey, at least Nogales hit a new milestone by having our first local impersonated on the infamous Saturday Night Live. That's pretty cool … I guess.

(The Wright Idea is a monthly column created by Nogales author Joe Wright in honor of his father's long-time NI column, the Wright Stuff. Contact him at josephw575@

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