Jamie Osborne’s Toast Of New York was foiled by the narrowest of margins in his bid to "pull off the impossible" as Bayern made all the running to score in the $5m Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Bob Baffert’s winner shot markedly left coming out of the stalls but got on top and hit the front straight away, with Jamie Spencer enjoying a smooth start on Toast Of New York, who was trying dirt for the first time.
Spencer tracked the winner throughout the race and looked to be getting on terms in the final few strides, but the line came just in time for Bayern, who won by a nose.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome was a neck further back in third, having filled that spot for much of the race, while Shared Belief was fourth after being bumped leaving the stalls by Bayern.
A stewards’ inquiry was quickly called after the race, but after an agonising few minutes the placings remained unaltered.
Toast Of New York’s proud owner Michael Buckley said: “He got a bit edgy at the start and when you consider it’s like a circus here the way they train each morning, compared to the tranquillity of Lambourn, it’s a testament to the horse how well he has handled everything.
“This has brought me to tears, I so desperately wanted Jamie Spencer to win on this horse before he goes off into retirement.
“We can carry on dreaming, because the Dubai World Cup is only five months away, but he has got to get there in good shape.
“This is an amazing horse and is the toast of lots of things in my heart.”
Osborne said: “This is a huge emotional thing for myself, Michael and Jamie - he has run his heart out and nearly pulled off the impossible.
“I’m thrilled with the way he ran, and he has again shown himself to be everything that we thought he was and more.
“All the doubts about running on dirt were clearly unfounded.
“It would have been great to win, but there you go.”
Winning rider Martin Garcia said of Bayern: “I had a lot of faith in him, I knew he could do it.”
Baffert was winning the Classic for the first time, having had the favourite in Game On Dude for the last two years.
He said: “He ran such a courageous race today, he ran the race we were hoping he would give and he gave it us today.
“I’m so glad they left it (result) up, it happened at the start.
“He got wiped out in the Preakness, but that’s racing. The first jump (from the stalls), you can’t control that.
“I told Martin, you get the lead and don’t look back, and he did it. Martin works hard every day, all the people who work for me work so hard. We deserve one of these once in a while.
“It was a great horse race and it’s exciting to win it.”
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