A controversial finish saw Bayern and Embellishing Bob swap win and place on Saturday night in the Grade 3 Derby Trial and provide a solid $11.60 payout for the win.
It was Bob Baffert trainee Bayern who edged Embellishing Bob to the line, but after a physical ride between the two, an inquiry was filed.
Brian Hernandez Jr. had the winning mount in the taxing duel between he and jockey Rosie Napravnik on Bayern, and he shed some insight into why he filed the inquiry, per Brisnet.com via KentuckyDerby.com:
"She (Napravnik on Bayern) was getting out the whole way. She bumped us. That's why I claimed (foul)."
After a hard charge, Myositis Dan came in third by a couple of noses to give the race an exciting three-wide finish. It wasn't until a photo was revealed that Bayern was originally ruled to be the race's winner.
Laddie Boy was almost two lengths back in fourth. The winning time for the one-turn mile checked in at 1 minute, 36.73 seconds.
Here's a look at the results:
|5||Friendswith K Mill|
|8||Big Sugar Soda|
After Chitu and Bitters 'n Bourbon scratched, there were just eight horses in this field. The small pack didn't stop the race from being exciting, though.
Bayern and Embellishing Bob dominated this race, and had they not been battling each other, Myositis Dan likely wouldn't have been as close.
Bayern was an overwhelming favorite at 4-5, per Brisnet.com, and he flashed the speed that earned that status, leading at every point. Embellishing Bob was never far off and just to the outside. At the top of the stretch, the two made contact and Bayern forced Bob outside. A case can certainly be made that it was Embellishing Bob who initiated the contact.
That case wouldn't have to be made to Napravnik.
"It wasn't any more me than him," jockey Napravnik was quoted as saying, per Brisnet.com. "I was surprised he claimed on me. I thought we won it fair. My horse ran hard and ran well."
Despite the back and forth, Baffert wasn't complaining:
They made the right call. At first I thought he hung on and won. Then I saw the inquiry. I saw all the bumping, there was a lot of stuff going on there. He ran well, but he's still a young horse. We need to get him back, a little bit off the lead. He got a little tired at the end. The track is demanding tonight. He got a lot out of it.
So, it is Embellishing Bob who emerges with the win and an impressive early resume. It marks Bob's second straight win, as he also won at Fair Grounds at the end of March. In all, he's made four starts and finished in the money in each. Saturday was his first Stakes race.
This isn't to suggest that Bayern should be judged too negatively. This is still an impressive young horse. Bayern entered this event fresh off a show at the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, and will go on to be in plenty of big races under Baffert.
Both of these horses will deservedly receive plenty of attention in their upcoming ventures.