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BAYERN TAKES FEATURED $58,000 TAURUS PURSE BY 15 LENGTHS; RIDDEN BY STEVENS, BAFFERT TRAINEE HAS LOOK OF DERBY PROSPECT
EBLOUISSANTE, HALF SISTER TO ZENYATTA, RUNS DISAPPOINTING SECOND EARLIER IN THE DAY; ONE WINNING PICK SIX TICKET, PURCHASED THROUGH TWINSPIRES.COM, PAYS $72,639
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2014)—In a race that could have Derby implications, Bob Baffert’s Bayern, ridden by Gary Stevens, stretched out to a mile and dominated Thursday’s $58,000 Taurus Purse, an allowance for 3-year-olds, winning by 15 lengths while getting 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 on Jan. 4, Bayern was the heavy 3-5 favorite in a field of five and paid $3.20, $2.10 and $2.10.
Breaking sharply from the rail, Bayern went to the front and was kept off the rail by Stevens, who had to contend with longshot Brother Soldier, who broke slowly and rushed up to engage the winner around the Club House turn and into the backstretch.
With Brother Soldier very keen to his outside, Stevens eased back to second 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, Inc., Bayern a Kentucky-bred colt by Offlee Wild, picked up $34,800 for the win, increasing his earnings to $68,400.
“This is what you want to see and it gets your hopes up,” said Baffert. “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 ¾ lengths in front of Brother Soldier. Tap It Rich, a handful with Mike Smith, sat a close third early and paid $2.40 and $2.10.
Brother Soldier, off at 9-1, paid $2.20 to show.
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, highly regarded Eblouissante, a 5-year-old half sister to the legendary Zenyatta, ran a disappointing second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths under Mike Smith at odds of 3-5.
Trained by John Shirreffs, Eblouissante had been idle since well beaten in the Grade III Shuvee Handicap at Saratoga on July 20.
“She just got a little tired at the end,” said 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 today.
There was one winning ticket in Thursday’s Pick Six, worth $72,639. It was purchased for an as- yet undisclosed sum through TwinSpires.com.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Friday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.