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Bayern wins Pennsylvania Derby for trainer Bob Baffert; California Chrome finishes 6th

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BENSALEM, Pennsylvania — Bayern won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby by 5 3/4 lengths Saturday, with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome finishing sixth in his first race since June 7.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Bayern ran 1 1/8 miles in a track-record time of 1:46.96 and paid $9, $3.60 and $4. The 3-year-old colt is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

West Virginia Derby winner Tapiture returned $5.80 and $4 under Rosie Napravnik, while West Virginia Derby runner-up Candy Boy was another head back in third and paid $4.20 to show in front of 16,000 fans at Parx Racing.

California Chrome was making his first start since finishing fourth in the Belmont Stakes, ending his bid to become horse racing's first Triple Crown winner in 36 years. Victor Espinoza rode the 5-2 favorite, who drew the unfavorable No. 1 post position and got trapped down by the rail.

"They were like blocking in front of me, and it was hard to catch the other horse," Espinoza said. "Sometimes the other ones don't ride to win, they ride to beat horses."

California Chrome broke sharply and was taken back to race in third in tight quarters going into the first turn. After riding the rail and stalking the pace, Espinoza asked his colt to rally in the stretch, but California Chrome failed to respond and was eased in the final sixteenth of a mile.

"I wish (Espinoza) could have gotten him out; the pace was not that fast," California Chrome's trainer Art Sherman said. "You hate making excuses, but I thought he could have gone after that horse a little bit earlier and got out from behind, but the other horse kept him down on the rail, which I really didn't want."

Sherman said California Chrome would return to his Southern California base and continue training for a possible start in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.

PHOTO: In this image provided by Equi-Photo, Bayern, with Martin Garcia aboard, runs on its way to winning the Pennsylvania Derby horse race at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Equi-Photo, Bill Denver)
In this image provided by Equi-Photo, Bayern, with Martin Garcia aboard, runs on its way to winning the Pennsylvania Derby horse race at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Equi-Photo, Bill Denver)

Bayern's victory was reminiscent of his overpowering effort in the Haskell Invitational in July at Monmouth Park, and Baffert, who watched the race at home in California, was elated.

"That was just a powerful performance," he said. "He broke well and they let us go and Martin hustled to get away from California Chrome. When California Chrome was pinned in there I knew it was going be tough for California Chrome. He was the target; we weren't the target. When Bayern runs like that, nobody's going to beat him."

The victory, worth $562,000, increased Bayern's career earnings to $1,639,680 in nine starts.

Noble Moon and C.J.'s Awesome finished in a dead-heat for fourth.

In the $1 million Cotillion, Untapable rallied to win by a length under Napravnik.

The 3-year-old filly ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.71 and paid $3, $2.40 and $2.10 as the 1-2 favorite. Untapable earned her third Grade 1 victory of the year for trainer Steve Asmussen. Her only loss in her last six starts was a fifth-place finish to Bayern and other male horses in the Haskell.

"I was extremely pleased to have her back in the winner's circle where we feel she belongs," Asmussen said. "I think a lot of little things added up to (the Haskell defeat) not being her day. I was very proud that she came out of a tough race like that, tough circumstances, to win a Grade 1."

Sweet Reason returned $4 and $2.80, while Jojo Warrior, trained by Baffert, was another length back in third and paid $3.60 to show.

The victory, worth $562,000, increased Untapable's career earnings to $1,896,725 in 10 starts.

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PHOTO: In this image provided by Equi-Photo, Bayern, right, with Martin Garcia aboard, pulls away to win the Pennsylvania Derby horse race at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Equi-Photo, Mark Wyville)
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