11/01/2014 10:27PM

Bayern survives inquiry, wins BC Classic

Justin N. Lane
From right, Bayern, ridden by Martin Garcia, wins the Breeders' Cup Classic over Toast of New York and California Chrome on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – A Breeders’ Cup Classic that was set up to be a clean-cut title-decider for Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male instead had a wholly unsatisfying ending Saturday at Santa Anita, where Bayern led from start to finish after clobbering several rivals at the start but was left the winner by the stewards after a lengthy inquiry.

Bayern ($14.20) held off Toast of New York to win by a nose, with California Chrome another neck back in third. But immediately leaving the gate, Bayern took a left-hand turn, the incident appearing to bother Shared Belief, V. E. Day, and Moreno, who was perhaps the only horse who could have challenged Bayern for the early lead.

Kim Sawyer, who along with Scott Chaney and Tom Ward are Santa Anita’s stewards, said the inquiry focused on the contact between Bayern and Shared Belief, who finished fourth.

“When the contact occurred at the start, according to the rules, we thought the horse was not cost a better placing,” Sawyer said of Shared Belief’s placing.

She said the stewards believed Moreno, who finished last, came out and contributed to the incident.

She said the decision by the stewards was unanimous.

Ninety minutes after the race, the California Horse Racing Board released a statement from Chaney that said, in part, “The incident occurred in a part of the race where the horses interfered with were not cost the opportunity to place where they were reasonably expected to finish.”

Bayern, afforded the opportunity to get to the front without pressure from Moreno, set fractions of 23.12 seconds, 46.44, 1:10.22, and 1:34.16 before completing 1 1/4 miles on the fast main track in 1:59.88 in a race that saw 3-year-olds sweep the first six spots in the field of 14.

Toast of New York was second throughout in an admirable performance in his first try on dirt. He also veered left 100 yards into the race and caused a second incident that also appeared to hinder Shared Belief.

California Chrome, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, was third throughout while racing in the clear. He was not involved in any bumping.

Shared Belief, previously unbeaten, wound up fourth.

“I think it cost me the race,” Mike Smith, the rider of Shared Belief, said of the start. “I was never able to get comfortable after getting hit at the break.”

Shared Belief was followed by Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, Candy Boy, Cigar Street, Zivo, Imperative, Footbridge, V. E. Day, Prayer for Relief, Majestic Harbor, and Moreno.

“We lost our race at the break when [Bayern] shot out of there and ran into everyone,” said Javier Castellano, who rode Moreno. “That pretty much took us out of the game.”

Martin Garcia rode Bayern, who is trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Kaleem Shah. All were recording their first wins in the Classic. Bayern earned $2.75 million from a gross purse of $5 million.

Baffert and Garcia performed verbal limbo when trying to justify the outcome.

“You can’t control the start,” Baffert opined. Baffert added that he thought Toast of New York “did more crushing than we did,” and said he thought the stewards were looking at the Toast of New York incident more than the start.

Garcia said Bayern “broke really sharp,” and said “there was nothing he could do.” He did appear to grab Bayern as quickly as he could, but the damage to the others was done by then.

“I was pretty sure that I didn’t do anything,” Garcia said. “In racing, these things happen.”

The win was the sixth in 10 starts this year for Bayern, who did not race at 2. This year, he also won the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth, the Pennsylvania Derby, and the Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park. He was well beaten in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in his only previous try at 1 1/4 miles.

In this race, the Haskell, and the Pennsylvania Derby, Bayern led from start to finish.

Bayern’s best weapon is his speed. His biggest wins have come in front-running fashion. “You’ve got to flaunt your speed,” Baffert said. “His brilliance is his weapon.”

He did display gameness to hold off Toast of New York and California Chrome.

“He wouldn’t let them by,” Garcia said.

And neither would the stewards.

– additional reporting by Steve Andersen

Leonard L More than 1 year ago
After watching the race, I have to admit, I have never seen such an infraction go unpunished as I saw in the BC Classic. Now, whether or not it was done deliberately is another matter. I have seen hundreds of races and many DQ's for less serious offenses. But, the stewards got this wrong - dead wrong and they deserve all the criticism aimed in their direction. Either clean up the sport with more ethical stewards or put football uniforms on the horses.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
Mean While Rajiv Maragh was sitting at home wondering how he got ten days suspension when he broke left out of the gate in the Belmont of 2011.How is this ANY different?
Linda More than 1 year ago
Different set of Rules, with a Claimer $ 10,000 and BC $ 5,000,000 listen to comments by Commentators- NBC after running classic, the rules change on Big Race ? sets a precident anything goes in Racing as long as you can deem the outcome of the finish ! The Class of Horse Racing and Integrity are gone and its who $$$$ Wins the Award , and who gets to keep there job, by not making waves ? Mike Smith, rides for Baffert hence no objection ? but his comments on track were a whole diff Story . also Note why the hurry to get to the Rail in a 1 1/4 Mile Race plenty of time to adjust before 1st turn planned masterfully by Baffert, and Martin Garcia ! Heist, was pulled at Santa Anita, the viewers and bettors all the losers !!!!!!!!!!!
Joseph Reiff More than 1 year ago
If you asked the stewards today, to reflect on their decision, I'm all but certain they would get on a high horse and defend it. My point is that three days post incident, the racing public expressed its opinion near unanimously and without haste, and there is no, nor will there be, an admission of error from the stewards and the Breeders Cup. No way, that's not how racing's administrators operate. I quite understand that to do so would implicate potential legal claims. Good. It's high time for the racing industry's day to day administration which directly affects the public (i.e., bettors), to answer some questions. But nothing will happen and nothing will change. Racing's fan base will continue to be ignored until there is racing no more.
Linda More than 1 year ago
The 3 Stewards, at Santa Anita, should be handcuffed and have 3 F--lony Warrant Convictions, for that call and racing public, STOP BETTING CALIF, TRACKS its all tainted with Bob Baffert !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Linda More than 1 year ago
BOYCOTT SANTA ANITA, HOLLYWOOD PARK, CLOSED, BAY MEADOWS CLOSED, Racing in Calif, will forever be tainted from Nov 1 2014 $ 5,000,000 BC Classic which should be called No Contest ! and Suspensions, and terminations are warranted from Jocks careless riding, to stewards blatant No Change order of finish what a joke.
Larry More than 1 year ago
In Shared Beliefs last race, the stewards found cause to suspend Victor Espinoza for seven days for "allowing his mount to drift", carrying Shared Belief wide into the fist turn, even though there was no contact, and his mount was clear at all times. Bayern goes left from the seven hole to the four hole causing a chain reaction of contact, risking harm to both horses and riders and they have no problem with it. The inconsistency is both alarming and suspicious. I cannot bet another race at Santa Anita and risk being taken down for a violation far less, without thinking of this decision. By the way, I bet Bayern.
Chuck Hecht More than 1 year ago
He ran a great race and deserves all the praise! Bayern as horse of the year for he took the lead and never looked back! All the whiners and crybabies will have to wait for another year. The officials ruled correctly as the start was out of their jurisdiction.
Linda More than 1 year ago
Hey did you win Big on you $ 2.00 Win Bet ? # 7 Bayern lol
Olivia Galvan More than 1 year ago
If Chrome would've finished second the stewards make a change.
russell More than 1 year ago
Maybe. If this was KY Baffert wouldve DQd in about 2 mins. Magnier/Tabor/Coolmore and a huge breeding operation there and own Toast of NY.
David Smith More than 1 year ago
What a joke of a race ..gate to wire all 3 horses..not much of a race at all.. sant anita is to much speed for sure..I've never seen a horse get taken down after coming out of the gate and interfering with other horses.