Updated on 04/08/2015 9:37AM

Dortmund dominant in Santa Anita Derby

Benoit & Associates
Dortmund, ridden by Martin Garcia, preserves his perfect record with a 4 1/4-length win in the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Kaleem Shah is a student of racing. He studies pedigrees. He studies the history.

So, even though his colt Dortmund already had earned enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby prior to the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, what Shah wanted as much as anything – the $600,000 winner’s share, confirmation that he has the best 3-year-old racing in California – was for Dortmund to keep his unbeaten record intact heading into the Kentucky Derby.

“Like Seattle Slew, Smarty Jones,” Shah said, ticking off the names of a couple of horses who remained unbeaten through their Kentucky Derby wins.

Now, Dortmund will get a chance to join their company. He closed out his flawless prep season at Santa Anita with his most lopsided stakes win yet, a 4 1/4-length romp in the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby. He was expected to win, as his $3.20 win price reflects, but he was not expected to be so dominant, what with highly regarded opponents such as Prospect Park and Bolo considered his primary challengers.

Instead, Dortmund left them all in the dust. His Bob Baffert-trained stablemate, One Lucky Dane, was closest to him the whole way and wound up second, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Bolo, who outfinished Prospect Park and Cross the Line in a three-way photo finish for third. Bad Read Sanchez trailed.

Dortmund, ridden by Martin Garcia, completed 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:48.73. He has won all six of his starts.

“I was so nervous,” Shah said. “Normally, I’m not nervous. But today, there was a lot on the line, 6 for 6.”

Dortmund bobbled a bit just after the start but still got to the front. Baffert said after the race that Dortmund lost his right front shoe at the start. Despite that, Dortmund set fractions of 22.46 seconds for the opening quarter, 46.36 seconds for a half-mile, and 1:10.57 for six furlongs. One Lucky Dane was closest the whole way, the pace made easier for them when longshot Bad Read Sanchez was rated early, even though he had shown speed in sprints.

Garcia said Dortmund, a big, hulking horse, “is still learning.”

“When someone comes up next to him, he takes off again,” Garcia said.

Both Dortmund and One Lucky Dane will go on toward the Kentucky Derby on May 2 at Churchill Downs. Baffert is expected to have a third Derby runner in American Pharoah, who will have his final Derby prep in the Arkansas Derby next Saturday. He already has enough points to get into the Derby and will be a heavy favorite in Arkansas.

:: DERBY WATCH: Top 20 from Jay Privman and Mike Watchmaker

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

“I can’t believe it. I’m so fortunate to have so many good 3-year-olds,” said Baffert, who extended his own record for the most Santa Anita Derby victories to seven, all earned in the last 20 runnings.

Baffert said he was concerned about this race with Dortmund owing to his rail draw. “It’s just tough,” he said. He said Garcia knew that an alert start was paramount. “He needed to get out of there,” Baffert said.

Now, Dortmund will head back to Kentucky. Although he is based in California, Dortmund has the advantage of having had a race over the Churchill Downs track. It came last fall in his second start, following a debut win at Santa Anita in November.

Baffert wanted to get a prep into Dortmund before the Los Alamitos Futurity in December but was reluctant to run him on Polytrack at Del Mar, which that track had for its fall meet. So, Dortmund traveled to Churchill Downs for a mere allowance race. It was a means to an immediate end with the Los Alamitos Futurity but now may prove to have even more significant benefits four weeks hence.


Mary Sivak More than 1 year ago
. Dortmund on top with international star,materiality ,carpe diem,and firing line keyed for second and third with all. Now off to the bank.
Bruce Heringa More than 1 year ago
Hammerabi the Handicapper picked the Dortmund over One Lucky Dane exacta Saturday, and is picking Dortmund in the Kentucky Derby Futures pools. See more at shop.hammerabi.com
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
the only horse that would have beat him that day would have been in maybe the 7 thru 16 positions. must be nice to pick up 600k for a six horse race.
Frank Ramirez More than 1 year ago
I don't think that anyone should be under the illusion that Dortmund will have an uncontested lead in the Derby with the likes of Carpe Diem, Firing Line, Upstart, American Pharoah and Materiality. While not all are need to lead types they all need to be near the lead by the half mile pole. Most 3 year olds have a natural instinct to run as fast as they can for as far as they can regardless of a trainer's instructions. A 20 horse field and getting a good position early can throw the best laid plan right out the window. It should be an interesting Derby.
kedrick More than 1 year ago
Dortmund is the truth, he will be my single in the pick 3 and 4
tommy More than 1 year ago
I think I have the record on drf for having the most replies ; )
Tim Sr. More than 1 year ago
You are a legend in your own mind.......
Tim Sr. More than 1 year ago
and you need to find something else to do with your time tommy
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
And insults
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
LOL. ok fine. you just broke your own record... again!
John Burton More than 1 year ago
Don't listen to those "negative nellies" Tommy! Keep posting!p
Mike More than 1 year ago
If this horse trains well like he's been and stays healthy, with a good post and break, he will be EXTREMELY tough to beat. He loves churchill downs and he runs better off the pace with a target in front of him and his is more than willing to fight every inch of the stretch to the wire. He is a scarey horse.
John Burton More than 1 year ago
Yes he is but I want AMERICAN PHAROAH win so I hope the DORT gets an inside post!
WMaier More than 1 year ago
I think One Lucky Dane is a talented runner and should be running Derby day though not in the Kentucky Derby, but instead, in the $200K Pat Day Mile (formerly the Derby Trial) at a one-turn mile. Baffert has stated the longer the distance, the better for this colt--and maybe he was a short horse considering it was only his second start of 2015--too bad the connections are rushing him along.
Jack Meehan More than 1 year ago
Right now this is the horse they all must beat in the Derby! He's a 17 plus hand athlete, with a great front-end, deep chest, a huge heart, and I guarantee there's two large lungs in there to match! So for those out there, who think he won't get the Derby distance, think again! I would not want to be the colt, who has to look this guy in the eye the last 100yds, for he has the eye of a tiger! Carpe Diem and American Pharoah, look like the only horses with enough talent to challenge him.. We once owned Man O' Wars training farm in PA, where that great horse began his career, and this guy is even bigger than him! The key to the race will be, to properly evaluate their training at Churchill, the two weeks prior to the race! I almost always have the Derby winner, 5 for 5 the last five years, including the trifectas, so if anyone needs help this year, be sure to follow me on twitter @SaratogaJack.. Best of luck to everyone, especially the colts, may they all get thru the race safely!
John Gamble More than 1 year ago
he's huge like Point Given... that horse also lost the Derby, to stablemate Real Quiet.
TRacingLifeMore More than 1 year ago
Bob Baffert realizes that speed is a major asset in dirt racing. That's why he wins so often. His turf percentages are not so great though.
Matthew Hood More than 1 year ago
His turf stats are bad because he doesn't get turf horses. If you had a really good turf horse, there are so many other trainers you would use before Baffert. He knows his game, speed on dirt.
flash gordon More than 1 year ago
He was a Quarterhorse trainer before he got in the thoroughbred game.