Bayern Wires Haskell; Favored Untapable 5th
Photo: Equi-Photo/Bill Denver
Bayern wins the Haskell Invitational.

Kaleem Shah's Bayern ran them off their feet July 27 in the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I) (VIDEO), taking eight other sophomores gate-to-wire at Monmouth Park en route to a 7 1/4-length score.

Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Untapable, the multiple grade I-winning filly favored at 7-5, came four wide into the stretch from fourth but lacked a bid after bumping with Social Inclusion at the start. She was edged by longshot Irish You Well in a photo and finished fifth.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Bayern skipped away to set the pace from post 2 and never looked back. The speedy bay son of Offlee Wild   clicked through early fractions of :23.54, :47.66, and 1:11.16 skimming the rail with Wildcat Red and Social Inclusion in pursuit. Bayern widened his advantage to three lengths through a 1:35.49 mile before drawing off in the 1 1/8-mile event in 1:47.82.

Albano, rallying on the inside, was a distant second. Wildcat Red completed the trifecta, a length farther back in third.

Bayern gave Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a record seventh win in the Haskell while collecting his first grade I score. The colt has now aced back-to-back stakes both sprinting and routing, romping in the Haskell after dominating the seven-furlong Woody Stephens (gr. II) at Belmont Park by 7 1/2 lengths.

Baffert, who watched the race on television from his California base, was gleeful in his telephone interview after the race. Bayern joins Point Given   (2001), War Emblem (2002), Roman Ruler   (2005), Lookin at Lucky   (2010), Coil   (2011), and Paynter   (2012) as the conditioner's Haskell winners. 

Bayern earned an automatic berth in the Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park; the Haskell is a qualifying race in the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" series.

"It's so exciting," Baffert said. "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."

Baffert, who had announced a possible post-Haskell route for Bayern—sprinting at Saratoga Race Course—was in the midst of changing his mind after the race.

"Before this, I said we were going to the King's Bishop (going seven furlongs), but I don't think I'll back him up after this," Baffert said. "I'm so happy for (owner) Kaleem Shah. He has such a passion for racing."

Shah and Baffert completed a superb weekend after also teaming to win the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar with Fed Biz   July 26.

Garcia has previous Haskell scores on Lookin at Lucky and Coil. With Bayern's win, he tied Craig Perret's record for most wins by a rider in the Haskell.

"That was real impressive," the jockey said. "Obviously, we were going to the lead. I wasn't surprised at how well he ran. He was cruising out there the whole way. He was able to set the fractions on his terms, and when we turned for home, he took off.

"Going into the race I wasn't worried about the filly or anyone. I knew I was on a really good horse. He showed how good he was today."

Steve Asmussen, trainer of Untapable, said, "She didn't get away well at all, and was never in position to win the race the way the track was playing today."

"The horse next to us (Social Inclusion) acted up in the gate, so she got a little fussy and didn't get away well," jockey Rosie Napravnik said of Untapable's run. "We had the widest trip of everybody; she ran a hell of a race and ran as hard as she could."

Off as the second choice at odds of 9-2, Bayern returned $11.40, $7.20, and $5, while Albano paid $10.80 and $6.60. The exacta was worth $97. Wildcat Red brought $5.40 as Irish You Well edged Untapable by a head for fourth. Just Call Kenny, Social Inclusion, Encryption, and Medal Count completed the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Helen Alexander out of the Thunder Gulch   mare Alittlebitearly, Bayern was a $320,000 purchase at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic 2-year-olds in training sale from the Eddie Woods consignment. He is the first grade I winner for his dam, who has produced three winners in as many starters.

Bayern now has a 4-1-1 record from seven starts. The winner's share of the Haskell purse, $600,000, pushed his earnings to $1,077,680.

All-sources mutuel handle on Haskell Day hit $15,952,611, third highest total in history and $3.4 million above last year, as a crowd of 35,983 gathered for Monmouth's marquee event.

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