Bayern crushes field in $1 million Haskell
RSS Feeds Monday, July 28, 2014
Bayern turned in one of the best 3-year-old performances of 2014 in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1), blowing away a stellar field by seven lengths in front-running style. Martin Garcia, who was aboard the Kaleem Shah colorbearer, is a perfect 3-for-3 in the signature race of the Monmouth Park meet.

Already a Grade 2 winner earlier this season, Bayern became the 23rd Group/Grade 1 winner, and the second Grade 1 winner in the past 30 days, sold by Eddie Woods. A $320,000 purchase from the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic May Sale, Bayern was among our 130 juveniles sold at auction last year; the nearly $13 million total was second-best in gross receipts among all North American consignors.

As trainer Bob Baffert said beforehand, Bayern was going to be on the lead from the break, and that's where he was just a few strides into the nine furlong affair. Going along comfortably down the backstretch, Bayern maintained about a length lead going into the far turn.

Social Inclusion made a run at the leader at that point, but Bayern shook off the challenges and sprinted away from the field coming into the stretch. The dark bay poured it on down the lane, to stop the timer in 1:47 4/5.

Bayern earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 109, the highest number by any 3-year-old beyond 1 1/16-miles in 2014.

“It’s so exciting,” Baffert gushed. “I was hoping he’d be able to get the mile and an eighth. Gary Stevens, after he rode him last time, said ‘you have to let him route again. He’ll just keep going.’

“We tried to slow him down in the past, but now we know we just have to utilize his speed. I didn’t think he’d do it as devastating as that. It looks like he has it all together now.

“The only concern is that he needs to break,” Baffert summed up. There is no Plan B.”

Bayern, who won the Grade 2 Woody Stephens S. by a similar margin in June, became racing's newest millionaire with his Haskell win, upping his lifetime take to $1,077,680 with four wins from seven starts.

As far as his next start, Baffert has options, “I have to bring him back (to his southern California base), then he'll have to tip me off (before we decide to ship back to Saratoga for either the seven furlong Kings Bishop (G1) or the Travers (G1)).”

Bayern's victory also guaranteed him a spot in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) as part of the “Win and You're In” program sponsored by the Breeders' Cup.