by Ted Black
Who is Bayern?
Like Social Inclusion, this son of Pennsylvania stallion Offlee Wild, trained by Bob Baffert for owner Khaleem Shah, was unraced at age two, but has since won twice in four starts this year and banked just over $200,000. A sharp winner in each of his first two career tries at Santa Anita, Bayern was third in the 1 1/8 mile Grade I Arkansas Derby and crossed the wire first in the one-mile Grade III Derby Trial Stakes only to be disqualified and placed second for impeding a rival in the lane. Like Social Inclusion, Bayern appears long on talent while still short on experience.
“His work was absolutely incredible,” said jockey Rosie Napravnik, who worked Bayern five furlongs in 58 1/5 at Churchill Downs on May 5. “He really impresses me in the morning. I was super-excited about him for the Derby Trial, and if we were able to have a little more options in positioning, I think he’ll be better around two turns than he was in the one-turn mile.”[boxify cols_use =”3″ cols =”6″ position =”right” box_spacing =”5″ padding =”3″ background_color =”gray” background_opacity =”10″ border_width =”1″ border_color =”red” border_style =”dashed” height =”250″ ]Bayern File
- Trainer Bob Baffert
- Owner Kaleem Shah, Inc.
- Bred in Kentucky by Helen Alexander
- Breeding Offlee Wild-Alittlebitearly, by Thunder Gulch
- Record 4-2-1-1, earnings of $202,680
- Career highlight Third in G1 Arkansas Derby[/boxify]
Why he could win
Trainer Bob Baffert is no stranger to winning Triple Crown races. He made a minor equipment adjustment with Bayern and took the blinkers off the Offlee Wild colt for the Preakness, admittedly to allow the colt to display more speed early in the race. Bayern delivered one of the best performances of the year for a sophomore when he captured a two-turn allowance race at Santa Anita by 15 lengths in his second career outing, and a duplicate effort here would likely be enough for him to post a mild upset under Napravnik, who boasts multiple Pimlico riding titles to her growing resume. His breeding — Offlee Wild won the Suburban at 1 1/4 miles, and Bayern’s dam, Alittlebitearly, is by Classic winner Thunder Gulch — suggests the distance isn’t an issue, but he’ll need to prove that.
Why he could lose
Much like Social Inclusion, Bayern has displayed plenty of ability and been respectable in stakes races but he has yet to win one. He also finished third in his first attempt at nine furlongs in the Arkansas Derby and has to race an additional sixteenth of a mile in the Preakness. He is probably a little short on seasoning and is getting another acid test for class against a multiple-Grade I winner in California Chrome who arrives riding a five-race win streak that includes a handy Derby score.