Updated on 09/23/2014 9:07AM

Bayern sets track record in Pennsylvania Derby triumph

Barbara D. Livingston
Bayern set a track record in winning the 1 1/8-mile Pennsylvania Derby in 1:46.96 Saturday at Parx.

BENSALEM, Pa. - As he watched on television his 3-year-old Bayern dominate Saturday’s Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby-  a field that included Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome - trainer Bob Baffert had a flashback.

“When he crossed the wire the first thing in my mind, ‘There’s little Dude,’ ” Baffert said from his home in Southern California.

Baffert was referring to Game On Dude, his multiple Grade 1-winning gelding whose retirement was announced this week.

“The sad part about Dude is that we’re not going to be able to see him run again because he brought so much joy,” Baffert said.  “When you have a really good horse you watch him run; he’s a gelding and you know he’s going to be around for a long time.”

Bayern is not a gelding and he will definitely have a future as a stallion. The brilliant speed that carried him to victories in the $1 million Haskell at Monmouth in July and the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park in June was on display again Saturday at Parx, where, under Martin Garcia, Bayern galloped to a front-running, 5 3/4-length victory in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby.

After setting leisurely fractions of 24.07 seconds for the first quarter and 47.89 for the half-mile, Bayern covered the 1 1/8 miles in a track record time of 1:46.96. The previous mark of 1:47 was established by Selari Sprit in 1974. Bayern, the second choice at 7-2, returned $9 to win.

Tapiture rallied from off the pace to get second by a head over Candy Boy. Noble Moon and C.J.’s Awesome finished in a dead-heat for fourth while California Chrome finished sixth, beaten 7 1/4 lengths. Protonico and Classic Giacnroll completed the order of finish.

The sixth-place finish for California Chrome was his worst since he ran sixth in the Golden State Juvenile Stakes at Santa Anita last Nov. 1.

Breaking from the rail - which was the place to be Saturday at Parx - California Chrome was third entering the first turn, boxed in by Protonico around the turn. Under Victor Espinoza, California Chrome could never get clear running room down the backside.

In the stretch, as Bayern galloped away from the field, California Chrome faded, perhaps showing some effect from a 105-day layoff since his fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes.

“The horse hadn’t been out in a long time. This race will do him a hell of a lot of good, I know that,” Art Sherman, the trainer of California Chrome said. “He’s a funny horse; if he gets down in there and you have to keep checking him and checking him he gets a little disinterested, but I’m not making any excuses, he was there and didn’t go. As long as he comes back good and sound I’ll be happy.”

Said Espinoza: “It was a little bit stressful in the first turn. I know they went so slow, and I couldn’t do anything about it.”

The connections of Bayern said their horse didn’t like the Saratoga main track as an excuse for his last-place finish in the Travers Stakes on Aug. 23. But since Garcia didn’t abuse him in that race, Bayern returned to Southern California in good shape. After two solid works at Santa Anita, Baffert decided to ship the horse east for a third time, having made cross-country trips to New Jersey and New York earlier in the summer.

“That’s a really good horse that can take it,” Baffert said. “California Chrome, we got him on an off day. When he was stuck on the rail there behind horses they made it tough for him. Today was our day.”

Bayern and California Chrome- along with Candy Boy and likely Tapiture - were expected to be flown back to Southern California on Sunday. While California Chrome will definitely be pointed to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 1, Baffert said he will wait until the last minute to decide whether to point Bayern to the Classic or the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, that race being run on Oct. 31.

By virtue of his victory in the Haskell, Bayern has a fees-paid berth into the Classic should Baffert choose to use it. He can also use that money towards the Dirt Mile as well. Kaleem Shah, owner of Bayern, said he would let Baffert make that call.

“We’re going to get him back here [to Santa Anita]. We’re just 100 yards away from making that decision. It’s an easy walk from our barn to the paddock,” Baffert said. “I won’t make that decision for a while.”

For his part, Sherman is already looking ahead to the Classic.

“We’ll see them in the Breeders’ Cup,” he said.

All-sources handle at Parx Saturday was $10,396,671, an 88 percent increase over last year’s figure of $5,519,896. Officials did not have an official attendance, but estimated it at 16,000-plus, according to Joe Wilson, the track’s chief operating officer.



Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
VE DAY will beat them all in the BC Classic :)
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
No Travers winner had ever won the Classic
Matthew Hood More than 1 year ago
Silly comment, VE Day has no chance.
Dusty Nathan More than 1 year ago
The track played for speed and Bayern looked like a cinch if he could open a clear lead, which, obviously, he did. His odds were an extremely generous 7-2.
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
Really.. Cc was "mugged" ??? Cmon man CC was a short horse Saturday.... And I hope that's all it is. Now Cigar...in the Pacific clasic THAT was a mugging!
tra More than 1 year ago
Chrome is over rated and won't win best 3 yr old this year as the owners are lowlife classless people and the voters won't forget them when time comes to vote for end of year honors.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
True. Plus if CC doesn't put or shut up in the Classic he shouldn't win best 3 year old anyway.
mike More than 1 year ago
Tra Says the "low life". Another jealous troll,just what DRF needs.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
That is assuming Shared Belief wins the classic. Chrome's PP's this year are still better then Shared Belief. Now if VE Day wins the JCGC and Classic(Like I think he will) he will be a serious contender for the 3 year old champion award.
tra More than 1 year ago
Chrome has fired his best shot and will run and lose big in the Breeders Cup if he can get there. Shared Belief is the real deal and has beaten older horses 2 times which should cancel out anything Chrome has done up to now. Never discount a Baffert horse with speed unless the track is at Saratoga. His horses never win there and he used Bayerns last race there as a tune up for the Pa Derby and took home the cash. Chrome is heading home and they should make plans for his retirement because he doesn't have anymore cakewalk races.
mike More than 1 year ago
You're drunk!
Walter More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's time for an opportunistic decision for Wise Dan to run in a depleted BC Classic?
Dusty Nathan More than 1 year ago
If Wise Dan wins - any race on the Breeders Cup card he'll win HOY, as long as Shared Belief doesn't beat older in the Classic.
flash gordon More than 1 year ago
I don't think wise dan could win hoy.he has not run enough races this year.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
If Wise Dan can win the Shadwell AND the BC Mile...... maybe....just maybe.
Michael Infurna More than 1 year ago
Chrome had 3 bullet works and had the one hole on a golden rail. Why wasn't this horse sent to the lead, much like Larry Jones horse in the preceeding race? Sherman is delusional if he thinks this horse likes to run behind horses or at a target. His best asset is speed and he didn't use it. They should have learned their lesson in the Belmont. Pumpkin head Baffert stole two $1,000,000 races with Bayern because none of these idiots (except ?Clement) chose to run with Bayern. If these guys had half a brain, they would spend some of their appearance money and claim a rabbit!! BTW, Chrome will never win the Classic or another race this year for that matter.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Pumpkin head? Why insult? Would you want your father insulted in such manner?
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
LOL. love this post. You are so right Michael.
mike More than 1 year ago
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
2nd race off a layoff is a strong angle in racing.
flash gordon More than 1 year ago
Tell that to tonalist
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
It is...but I like to see a little something.. I saw a better public workout at Los Al than that effort
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Go away.
Kevin Miller More than 1 year ago
I am surprised that Chrome's owner wasn't out there saying how unfair it is that his horse had to race after being laid off and the others were all in racing shape.
Andy More than 1 year ago
Probably 200,000 reasons why. How Parx paid the connections a show up fee to race is beyond comprehension.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
California Chrome draws people to the track. Don't know why it's hard to comprehend that having a star run at your track will create more revenue. Paying to have chrome run in the PA derby was smart business
B More than 1 year ago
It was not set up for Chrome. The fee was for any horse that won the races he did. The track wanted to attract whoever was the best and they succeeded.
mike More than 1 year ago
Why don't you stop whining about Chrome's connections? I greatly respect them. Why don't you whine about owners having horses they mistreat?
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
I'm not whining. I'm laughing.
mike More than 1 year ago
If I were you,would be laughing at myself. What a foolish little man you are,pushing the same tired agenda against CC & connections. Guess what Shawn......they don't care and I can promise you on that.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
No. I'm waiting for icing on the cake BC classic. Day. Coburn is a disgrace and chicken will come home to roost. And another thing connections (not Sherman) are classes turds.
mike More than 1 year ago
Shawn, Thirty yrs from now you will continue to post the same things on connections.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
About 5 weeks from now. Horse world will see a lesson taught