The G2 $500,000 Woody Stephens Stakes for 3 year-olds traveling 7 furlongs on the Belmont dirt oval had some very familiar names. Among the thirteen (13) who broke from the gate were Bayern, Financial Mogul, Havana, Coup de Grace, Spot, Kobe’s Back, Financial Mogul and Social Inclusion. All were mentioned somewhere along the way on the Derby Trail this spring, and it was Bayern (9-1) who exploded in mid-stretch to draw off to win 7½ lengths in 1:27.75, just a few ticks off the track record (1:27.17).
Afterwards, winning rider Gary Stevens stated the obvious, “That was a powerhouse performance. He had a bad experience in the gate in the Preakness… but he made a perfect break and when I asked him he turned in what was an awesome performance today. He really deserved that win.”
With no California Chrome or Ride On Curlin among this group, the betting public sent Rontos Racing Stable’s Social Inclusion off as the even money favorite. The Preakness 3rd place finisher got off a bit tardy, was rushed up into contention, but could not match strides with the winner beyond the 1/8th pole and barely salvaged SHOW purse money.
Longshot Pure Sensation shot to the early lead but Stevens hustled Bayern quickly behind that one in sizzling fractions of 21.96 and 44.20. After disposing of the early leader, Bayern who had a troubled trip in the Preakness Stakes, showed his blend of speed and stamina getting 6 furlongs in 108.17 leaving his competition in the dust to fight it out for the minor awards.
The Bob Baffert trainee paid $20.40 for the winner up from his 5-1 M/L odds. California shipper Top Fortitude (23-1) rallied for second, besting Social Inclusion by a head, while Kobe’s Back (12-1) rallied for fourth. The $2 Exacta returned $440.50; $1 Trifecta paid $742.00 and the 10 cent Superfecta was worth $649.95.