Bayern overwhelmed a $58,000 allowance test at Santa Anita, winning by 15 lengths.

Bayern overwhelmed a $58,000 allowance test at Santa Anita, winning by 15 lengths.

Benoit Photo

Bayern Romps; Eblouissante Second in Return

Trainer Bob Baffert's Offlee Wild colt destroys allowance field in second start.

In a race that could have Triple Crown implications, Bayern , ridden by Gary Stevens for trainer Bob Baffert, stretched out to a mile and overwhelmed a $58,000 allowance test for 3-year-olds, winning by 15 lengths (VIDEO).

Bayern covered the distance in 1:35.77 and was then ridden out past the wire another sixteenth of a mile.

A first-out maiden winner going seven furlongs Jan. 4, Bayern was the heavy 3-5 favorite for his return as part of a field of five and paid $3.20 to win.

Earlier on the card, highly regarded Eblouissante, a 5-year-old half sister to the legendary Zenyatta, ran a disappointing second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths under Mike Smith at odds of 3-5 (VIDEO).

Breaking sharply from the rail, Bayern went to the front and was kept off the rail by Stevens, who had to contend with 9-1 shot Brother Soldier, who broke slowly and rushed up to engage the winner around the clubhouse turn and into the backstretch.

With Brother Soldier very keen to his outside, Stevens eased back to second briefly approaching the five-furlong pole, but turned his horse loose going to the half and he had a five-length advantage on Brother Soldier and Edwin Maldonado passing the quarter pole. 

"I don't think I was quite test driving him but when I did ask him to pick it up at the eighth pole, he exploded," said Stevens. "I didn't want to get into a speed duel and taking the blinkers off was a big help today. He was listening to what I did and was relaxed down the backside and he was relaxed throughout."          

Owned by Kaleem Shah, Bayern is a Kentucky-bred colt by Offlee Wild with earnings of $68,400 in his two starts. The dark bay or brown colt out of the Thunder Gulch mare Alittlebitearly fetched $320,000 from the Eddie Woods consignment at last May's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

"This is what you want to see and it gets your hopes up," said Baffert of the colt's future. "I would just make sure he comes out of it and give him plenty of time. He ran fast."

Baffert also saddled second choice Tap It Rich, who was off at 6-5 and finished second, 5 3/4 lengths in front of Brother Soldier. Tap It Rich, a handful leaving the gate with Smith, sat a close third early and swung extremely wide into the clubhouse turn before settling down. Fractions on the race were :24.03, :47.77, 1:11.77, and 1:23.59.

In Thursday's second race, a second condition allowance for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, Eblouissante was making her first start since finishing sixth in Shuvee Handicap (gr. III) at Saratoga Race Course July 20.

Facing four opponents, Eblouissante led into the stretch but could not fend off Macha, who won by 1 1/4 lengths for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer at odds of 3-1.

"She just got a little tired at the end," said trainer John Shirreffs, who also conditioned Zenyatta. "Mike said she put herself in the race a little early. She was a little keen and she didn't finish."

Shirreffs didn't indicate what plans may be in store for Eblouissante, who was undefeated in her first two starts in Southern California and was making her fourth start.