Horse Racing / Sports

Baffert's Bayern gets 10-1 morning-line odds

BALTIMORE -- Bob Baffert, the Hall of Fame trainer of Preakness entry Bayern, hopes his horse has more luck in Baltimore than Bodemeister did at Pimlico Race Course two years ago.

After winning the Arkansas Derby that year, Bodemeister finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

After Bayern won in Arkansas last month, Baffert decided to have him race in the 1-mile Derby trial rather than the 1\-mile Derby.

Bayern -- named after soccer power Bayern Munich, the favorite club of the horse's owner, Kaleem Shah -- finished first in the Derby trial with Rosie Napravnik aboard, but he was later disqualified for interference and given second.

"I was thinking Derby when I went to Arkansas," Baffert said Wednesday in Louisville, Ky., where Bayern worked out before being shipped to Maryland. "I wasn't going to get him back in a week and run him. I was disappointed that he couldn't separate himself from those horses. He still won, but I was looking for a bigger effort out of him."

It was then that Baffert decided not to "throw him to the wolves a week later" and have Bayern run in the Kentucky Derby. Bayern will run with his blinkers off in the Preakness, where he'll start from the No. 5 post position. He was given 10-1 morning-line odds after Wednesday's draw.

Baffert, who will be seeking his sixth Preakness victory, said he had been "going back and forth" on taking off the blinkers.

"I just think that if he's going to lay off horses, I think he's going to be better off without blinkers," Baffert said.

It's going to be a busy Saturday for Shah. He said Wednesday that he would spend part of the morning watching his favorite soccer club play in the title match of the German Cup against Dortmund, a rematch of last year's Champions League final.

Bayern Munich is coming off a disappointing loss as defending champions in the Champions League. It lost to Real Madrid recently in the semifinals by a two-game aggregate score of 5-0.

Asked whether he hopes the horse will have a better outcome Saturday in Baltimore, Shah said, "That's what we're hoping for, but I don't want to get ahead of myself."

Weighing in on 'Chrome'

Art Sherman concedes that he was concerned about California Chrome's two-week turnaround between his Kentucky Derby win and the Preakness.

The 77-year-old trainer worried about the chestnut colt's ability to quickly regain the weight he lost after the victory.

But when Sherman arrived at Pimlico on Tuesday and looked into Stall 40, he liked what he saw.

"He looked great," said Sherman after California Chrome's 2-mile gallop Wednesday morning.

Sherman's son and assistant trainer Alan Sherman had said the horse lost about 30 pounds after the Derby, but had gained 42 pounds before arriving at Pimlico.

Exercise rider Willie Delgado noticed the weight gain on his first gallop at Pimlico on Wednesday after just a jog Tuesday.

The added weight "makes it an active feeling when he's out there because of the strength," Delgado said.

The short break between the Derby and the Preakness that led to California Chrome's weight fluctuation has brought about some atypical training, Art Sherman said. But the sight of the horse gliding across the track Wednesday morning gave him no reason to worry any longer.

"He's holding his weight -- that's a big factor. He's eating good. He finished every oat last night," Sherman said. "He seems to be thriving in this type of training, so I'm sure not changing anything. Let's go for it."

(c)2014 The Baltimore Sun

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PREAKNESS


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