11/02/2014 3:10PM

Controversy swirls around Bayern's BC Classic victory

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Barbara D. Livingston
Bayern got a career-high 113 Beyer Speed Figure for his Breeders' Cup Classic victory.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Even with an extra hour to sleep on it on Saturday night, emotions were still raw at Santa Anita on Sunday morning regarding the controversial Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, in which Bayern prevailed and then survived a stewards’ inquiry focusing on his actions at the start.

Bayern veered left immediately out of the gate and made contact with several horses, including favored Shared Belief, who finished fourth, behind Bayern, Toast of New York, and California Chrome. There also was a second incident 150 yards into the race, when Toast of New York moved sharply left toward Shared Belief. Stewards let the result stand.

 “I don’t have anything to say,” said Jerry Hollendorfer, the trainer and co-owner of Shared Belief, who was clearly disappointed with the decision. He said Shared Belief had come out of the race well and would head back to Golden Gate Fields on Monday.

Moreno, who was involved in the chain-reaction bumping at the start, emerged from the race with a swollen right-front ankle, according to his trainer, Eric Guillot. On Monday, Guillot said X-rays revealed a chip in that ankle. He said it would be removed via surgery.

Guillot said he thought Moreno was compromised by the start.

 “You want to have a foot race, and I trip you on the way out?” Guillot said.

 Scott Chaney, one of Santa Anita’s stewards, said he and colleagues Kim Sawyer and Tom Ward all agreed that while there was interference, they could not assume it cost any of the runners the opportunity for a better placing. Therefore, based on the rule they must apply, they made no change.

 “We’re loath to speculate,” he said.

 Chaney said the stewards thought the Toast of New York incident was less significant than the start, and they focused most of their attention on Bayern. He said that because they did not believe placings were impacted, they never got to the point where they looked at where Bayern would be placed should he be disqualified.

Chaney said no riders lodged an objection. He also said there was no evidence the veering in was done purposefully by jockey Martin Garcia, who was absolved of blame after meeting with the stewards on Sunday.

The controversy regarding the Classic overshadowed the performance of Bayern, who was winning for the sixth time in 10 starts, all this year, and bravely held off Toast of New York and California Chrome – who had clean trips – to win the 1 1/4-mile race.

“That horse ran a brilliant race,” said Bayern’s trainer, Bob Baffert. “He’s so tough. He’s just getting better and better. He’s such a good horse. He’s the kind of horse I could have run yesterday in the Sprint, Mile, or Classic.

“This little horse, he’s brought it. He’s the kind of horse you want to breed. He’s durable. He’s sound. He’s solid.”

Bayern earned a career-high 113 Beyer Speed Figure for his Classic performance.

Baffert said Bayern came out of the race well. He will stay in training next year at age 4. His owner, Kaleem Shah, on Sunday morning said his early season goal for 2015 was the Dubai World Cup, which will be back on dirt.

“My hope is the Dubai World Cup, and we can work out his schedule back from that,” Shah said at Santa Anita. “Bob can watch the race on his Grade 1 couch.”

Baffert has not returned to Dubai since suffering a heart attack there 2 1/2 years ago.

Shah seemed to agonize over the result, on one hand thoroughly thrilled he had won his biggest race as an owner, on the other hand not able to fully enjoy it because of the controversy.

“From my perspective, I hate it coming down to this issue,” Shah said. “I feel bad for the connections of Shared Belief. But I do think Shared Belief had six furlongs to make up four lengths on us and he never closed any ground. And the other top contenders had their shot at getting by.

 “It was a tremendous race. Bayern wouldn’t let the other horses by, even on the gallop-out. I feel horrible at the way it unfolded. I wish there was no controversy.”

 

 

Linda More than 1 year ago
Look, this is what is most disturbing the only Controversy exists with the Non Disq Call the 3 blind mice Stewards made on the biggest stage of all .the world witnessed a blatant left hand turn from the start, horse crossed 4 paths impeding the 2 logical contenders to the lone speed winner. you can watch 10,000 races anywhere in the country and all the commentators, NBC and and all abroad knows what the word " Foul Means " not only is this the worst call in Sports History, it tainted the Great Race Place, and will forever be the worst bad call in Horse Racing. people feel like a Heist took place and the 3 Stewards closed there eyes because of Baffert ! disgraceful. look at all his horses in previous Big Races, which were not taken down a pattern is here folks shameful.
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
I think the stewards made the non call because Bayern would have had to be d'qd all the way to last, behind Moreno
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BC showcases the best performing horses AND the best riding from a jockey from gate to finish. Impeding 2 steps or 150 yds. is still impeding progress and should've been punished accordingly. SB and Moreno both deserved their chances without being impeded one step. Especially for as fast the track was playing.
Richard More than 1 year ago
I feel worst for Shared Belief. He got hit, in chain reaction at least, by both Bayern and TONY. How can anyone say he might not have won? I had Bayern and I think he and TONY should both have been DQ'ed and CC declared the winner.
Tim Madeja More than 1 year ago
Have you watched the video replay of the race. the comentators were very surprised when he wasn't taken down, and made the remarks about different rules for deferent race...they said what everybody else said except for the stewards.......I need to say no more. they said it for us.....tim
Bill Keating More than 1 year ago
According to the stewards' logic, there is never a reason to have an inquiry into the start of the race because at the start of the race we cannot predict the effect of a foul on the final order of finish. Yet we always have inquiries into the start of a race. If a foul occurs at the top of the stretch, why have an inquiry since in almost all cases we wouldn't be able to predict the final order of finish if the foul had not occurred. You could say that the stewards were too cowardly to take down the winner, or, to be kinder to them, you could say that in the big race of the year they "let them play" instead of interfering.
Neil Garvin More than 1 year ago
The biggest question is why neither the jockeys or the trainers of the horses that got wiped out lodged a claim of foul. If everyone else in the world could see the interference, including veteran racing fans and those at the track for the first time, apparently, from the reporting at the track, why would the jockeys not claim foul. We see every day jockeys lodging what are called "frivolous" claims of foul in claiming races, why not in a five million dollar race with lots on the line including horse of the year? Something smells here and it is more than horsepoop.
Bill Keating More than 1 year ago
If there is already a stewards' inquiry there is no reason for the jockey to add a claim of foul and they often do not. The jockey claim would not increase the chance of a DQ. Only about 5 or 10 percent of the time is a jockey claim of foul allowed when there is no steward's inquiry. A DQ based only on a jockey claim is an admission that the stewards missed something.
russell More than 1 year ago
Jockeys arent claiming foul against Assmussen, Baffert, or Pletcher. Its business and thats the way it works even in the biggest races.
JS More than 1 year ago
“You want to have a foot race, and I trip you on the way out?”
Gary More than 1 year ago
" Santa Anita The Robbery Place " changed from the once " Great Race Place "
russell More than 1 year ago
If I was a young owner I wouldnt spend major money at these yearling sales. Bobby Flay watch out. Corrupt trainers and stewards that say the game is honest. Steward Chaney should have a beer with Baffert in the Hollywood parking lot. Bay Meadows gone; Hollywood Park gone; Suffolfk Downs almost gone. Calder doesnt want to race and either does Turfway Park.