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Chad B. Harmon

Travers or Pennsylvania Derby Next for Bayern

Haskell Invitational winner returned to California July 28.

Trainer Bob Baffert said July 28 that William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) winner Bayern  is under consideration for either the Travers Stakes (gr. I) or Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) for his next start.

Kaleem Shah's colt, who was never challenged in his impressive Haskell win July 27, left Monmouth Park early Monday morning for a flight to return to Baffert's base in Southern California.

The $1.25-million Travers will be run at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 23; the $1-million Pensylvania Derby is scheduled for Sept. 20 at Parx Racing near Philadelphia.

"I'm looking at the Travers or the Pennsylvania Derby," Baffert said by phone Monday, according to the NYRA press office. "A lot will have to do with his energy and how taxing the race was on him. It's cooler here and it's relaxing, so we'll get him back here and see how he's doing. He looks great."

Baffert has won the 1 1/4-mile Travers once in four tries, with Haskell winner and eventual Horse of the Year Point Given in 2001. He was third with Haskell winner Roman Ruler in 2005, 10th with 2011 Haskell winner Coil, and ninth with Liaison in 2012.

"It takes a good one (to win the Travers)," said Baffert. "We'll know in a couple weeks. We'll give him a couple weeks and see how he's doing."

Previous to the Haskell, Bayern finished second in the Derby Trial (gr. II) and was ninth in a troubled trip in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) before an impressive win in the seven-furlong Woddy Stephens Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park.

"He really showed me a lot," Baffert said of Bayern's win in the Haskell. "I was expecting a good race out of him, but he just kept on kicking and showed me that two turns isn't going to be a problem. He showed us a lot early on, and then he took a couple steps backward, and I was losing a little confidence in him.

"When he ran in the Derby Trial I lost a little confidence in him and in the Preakness he got completely wiped out and never had a chance. The Belmont race was off the charts. He's got two off-the-charts races in a row and I just want to keep him in that mindset. I don't want to rush him."

Bayern's 7 1/4-length romp provided Baffert a record seventh Haskell win and jockey Martin Garcia with a record-tying third victory in the race for 3-year-olds.

A son of Offlee Wild, Bayern earned $600,000 in the Haskell to increase his bankroll to $1,077,680, with 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.