Bayern (right): top three-year-old has recovered well from the ClassicPICTURE: Getty Images
Baffert confirms World Cup option for Bayern
MEYDAN'S decision to ditch its Tapeta all-weather track for dirt has increased the chances of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Bayern lining up in the Dubai World Cup in March, the three-year-old's trainer Bob Baffert has told the Racing Post.
Baffert won the World Cup with Silver Charm (1998) and Captain Steve (2001) when it was run on dirt at Nad Al Sheba, but has been out of luck with his two runners since the move four years ago to Meydan and Tapeta.
Reaction from horsemen to Meydan's first meeting on dirt this month was positive and Baffert said: "We've a lot of options including Dubai, which I'll be watching really closely as they've put a new track in. I'll be monitoring that and hopefully he might go there with a few more of mine.
"Putting dirt back gives American horses more of a chance. Synthetic surfaces are good if you have a horse who thrives on them, but I basically have dirt horses and you don't know how they'll perform on it - at least that question is out of it now.
"He came out of the Classic great. I put a stop on him and gave him a few days off and will now look at the spring races."
Reflecting on Bayern's thrilling Breeders' Cup Classic victory over the Jamie Osborne-trained Toast Of New York, which was followed by a lengthy stewards' inquiry, Baffert added: "The controversy took away from the excitement a bit, but going in we felt really confident as he was doing well and was going to run a big race.
"I didn't talk him up because they were talking up the other horses and I wanted to stay low-key about it. He was ready to roll and duplicated his runs in the Haskell and the Pennsylvania Derby."