From the family of Courtley Dee, one of the greatest broodmares of the 20th century, Bayern flashed his brilliance early, winning his first two career starts at Santa Anita by a combined margin of 18 1/4 lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. He followed those efforts with a third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby, but only made one appearance in a Triple Crown race, the Preakness Stakes, in which he finished ninth after a poor start.
It was in the Woody Stephens Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard that Bayern began to show his true ability, sprinting to a 7 1/2 length win in a quick 1:20.75 over the Belmont main track. He nearly duplicated that winning margin in the Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park, earning his first Grade 1 victory and guaranteed entry into the Breeders' Cup Classic by 7 1/4 lengths.
Bayern's next start was the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Taken out of his preferred pace situation, the colt finished 10th. He bounced back in the Pennsylvania Derby, defeating a field that included Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome by 5 3/4 lengths and setting a new track record of 1:46.96 for the 1 1/8 mile distance.
By the time he entered the Classic, Bayern had made nine starts at eight different tracks in 2014, won five races sprinting and routing, and finished second or third in another two races. Despite the depth of his experience, he was sent to post as the 6-1 fourth-favorite. With jockey Martin Garcia up, Bayern broke aggressively from the gate, securing the lead and holding off world-traveling UAE Derby victor Toast of New York to win the Classic by a nose. California Chrome was third by a neck. Bayern was declared the winner after a stewards' inquiry into the start resulted in no changes to the order of finish.
Owned by Kaleem Shah and bred by Helen Alexander in Kentucky, Bayern is the first Breeders' Cup Classic winner for Baffert, who won his first Breeders' Cup race in 1992 with Thirty Slews in the Sprint.
Breeders’ Cup Record
Breeders’ Cup Races Won