04/02/2015 1:51PM

Dortmund gets more ground in Santa Anita Derby

Benoit & Associates
Dortmund won the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe in March, and trainer Bob Baffert thinks he'll run better in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby.

ARCADIA, Calif. – He stands more than 17 hands tall and weighs almost 1,200 pounds. In every way, Dortmund has towered over his rivals in Santa Anita’s Kentucky Derby preps this winter and spring. His physical presence is imposing, as is his perfect race record. And now that he gets to stretch out to 1 1/8 miles Saturday in the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby, his advantage could be more pronounced.

“I think it’s going to be so much better for him,” said his trainer, Bob Baffert. “He’s tall, lanky, light-barreled, with that long stride.”

Yet while Dortmund unquestionably has accomplished more than any horse in this race, he is facing several rivals who also appear to be improving. Prospect Park and Bolo chased Dortmund home in the San Felipe Stakes last month, and both have reasons to move forward off that race. In addition, One Lucky Dane – like Dortmund trained by Baffert – comes off an impressive 3-year-old debut, crushing allowance foes.


:: SANTA ANITA DERBY: Get PPs, watch Saturday’s Santa Anita card live

Cross the Line and Bad Read Sanchez will be outsiders. There are only six runners, the smallest field of the three major Kentucky Derby preps run across the nation Saturday. But in terms of quality, this is the deepest field, with four members of the Derby Watch top 20.

“When they start going a mile and an eighth, this is when the cream starts separating,” Baffert said.

Dortmund drew the rail, with One Lucky Dane right alongside. There is no reason to get cute here. Dortmund likely will go for the lead, and One Lucky Dane will track him. The only horse capable of throwing a wrench into that scenario is Bad Read Sanchez, who figures to show speed from the outside in his first start since August and his first start beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. But if he clears the Baffert pair, Dortmund should be able to get outside and stalk, as One Lucky Dane wouldn’t be a candidate to keep him trapped.

The Santa Anita Derby is the eighth race on an 11-race card that begins at noon Pacific and includes five other stakes, most notably the Grade 1, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. The Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Oaks each offer 170 qualifying points overall, including 100 to the winner, toward respective berths in the May 2 Kentucky Derby and May 1 Kentucky Oaks.

The Santa Anita Derby also is the anchor leg of a live two-hour telecast on NBCSN, beginning at 2 p.m., which will include the Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland and the Wood Memorial from Aqueduct.

:: DRF Live: Watch live handicapping analysis of Saturday’s biggest races, starting at 2:00 p.m. Eastern


Dortmund (Last 3 Beyers: 104-104-91)

◗ He has been highly regarded since before he ever ran and has lived up to the notice, with five wins in five starts, each as the favorite. He figures to be odds-on for the fifth straight time in this race.

◗ Dortmund’s toughest test this meet came in his race before last, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, when he re-rallied to beat Firing Line, who subsequently won the Sunland Derby.

“If he gets headed, we know how that turns out,” Baffert said.

◗ Dortmund gave five pounds (123-118) to Prospect Park and Bolo under the conditions of the San Felipe. They all carry 122 this time.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 1 Dortmund. Trainer Bob Baffert is 13-1-1-0 with a $0.31 ROI over the past five years with 3-year-olds in dirt route graded stakes in the third start following a layoff. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Prospect Park (Last 3 Beyers: 102-93-78)

◗ He has made more progress than any local 3-year-old at this meet, going from a moderate maiden win Dec. 27 to a terrific runner-up performance in the San Felipe last time.

◗ He has continued to train well since that race, so there’s every reason to believe he has another forward move in him.

Bolo (Last 3 Beyers: 101-88-83)

◗ The San Felipe was his first start on dirt and his first race in two months, and he came into the race with a work schedule that was interrupted by rain. He’s been able to stay on schedule for this race, giving him the right to improve, too.

“We were pushed to make that race,” trainer Carla Gaines said Thursday. “Maybe he won’t improve. But I certainly think he will.”

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 4 Bolo. Trainer Carla Gaines is 16-1-2-4 with a $0.43 ROI over the past five years in dirt routes in the second start following a layoff. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

One Lucky Dane (Last 3 Beyers: 97-87-95)

◗ He got a career-best Beyer Speed Figure when returning from a 4 1/2-month layoff to win against allowance company March 19. He’s back in just 16 days but had little choice if he was to be given a chance to make the Kentucky Derby.

“He needs to run one-two-three,” Baffert said. “The distance should be in his favor. The farther, the better.”

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 2 One Lucky Dane. Trainer Bob Baffert is 10-2-2-3 with a $2.10 ROI over the past five years with 3-year-olds in dirt route graded stakes in the second start following a layoff. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

Cross the Line (Last 3 Beyers: 82-79-70)

◗ His Beyers have improved with every start, but he’s never faced horses of this caliber or raced on dirt.

Bad Read Sanchez (Last 3 Beyers: 74-69-75)

◗ This is an ambitious spot considering his inactivity and the quality of his rivals, but he should impact the pace.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 6 Bad Read Sanchez. Trainer Doug O’Neill is 31-0-6-3 over the past five years in routes following a layoff of 180 days or more. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

Matthew Linda Jr. More than 1 year ago
Bernier & Illman, should be encouraged by their handicapping misjudgment's and demonstrate their skills with Ladies Ping-Pong. Sadness is not a sufficient word to describe the 'B&I' team with their sophisticated forthcoming BULL%#@&%*@$ AP wins the Kentucky Derby for "FUN" .. Yoooooo Jersey Skip
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
LOL. I'm happy I'm just watching. First two races were funny. a 46 BEYER beats Never Ends 85 high and 3 to 5. I save money so far never woulda had either.
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
Love Bernier and Illman...great team and good information. Knowledgeable and entertaining!
russell More than 1 year ago
He might not win the Derby but he will be right there. Thats all you can ask for. I really liked the Dortmund/Bolo race. Those are the best I see.
Mark D More than 1 year ago
One Lucky Dane wire to wire. Baffert wants Dortmund to get stuck on rail so he gets some valuable schooling. He as the points and will not be fully cranked. As for Bad Read Sanchez...he will NOT go to lead. Oniel is just hoping for a 2nd or 3rd to get some points...and knows if he guns to lead that is less likely to happen.
russell More than 1 year ago
Wow, 17 hands and 1200 lbs. Someone call Forego. The best comment I ever heard on Forego was jockey literally thought he broke down once they stopped pushing at the wire. Im liking the Dortmund/Bolo exacta more and more
Bob More than 1 year ago
Great....that exacta ought to pay at least $2.20 for a buck!
Tommy Massis More than 1 year ago
no chance dortmund goes to lead
Bruce Battaglia More than 1 year ago
Can somebody explain what are Beyer figures. I am a 46yr handicapper and oddsmaker and I cannot figure how they numbers are calculated and assigned. You cannot read any any racing article without it being shoved down your throat. do you take the last 3 numbers mr. Beyer assigns divide them and get the derby winner?/ Has it ever happened.Has any derby winner ever had the highest last beyer figure??I have known Andy since 1975 and he is a very sharp amusing man. I like him . I just can't figure how he got to get the following. I think the only person that makes money with this system is andy.When he deposits his drf check in the bank every week. Please answer my questions if you can. I need all the advice I can get. Has anybody made a big score using his figures////thanks
tommy More than 1 year ago
Vo2 max, takes into consideration age, distance, time, weight !!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
most of all "tommy" why are you privileged to high lactate threshold and vo2 max information!! How do they do that with horses? Where is that information in DRF? Why have I never seen this before in any handicapping tools out there. I am calling you out. Where is this information? I suspect you read it somewhere in pro athletes training camps and transferred that thought to horses. I say you are full of horse droppings.
Walter More than 1 year ago
When watching Dortmund tomorrow, remember you are looking at a superstar! His previous races have been just practice. Each race, you see him learning quickly about what he needs to do and he gets it done. I'm not a Baffert fan, but I really, really love this horse! I haven't been this excited about a horse since Barbaro won the Laurel Futurity. Dortmund will win the SA Derby, will win the KY Derby, will win the Preakness. And dare I say, he will put on a Secretariat-like performance in the Belmont!
david m More than 1 year ago
drunk on the kool aid
Mark Oleary More than 1 year ago
Dortmund towers in many ways over this field. He will dominate and give Baffert a minimum of 2 live Bullets for Louisville. You cannot beat the West Coast horses in the Derby! Look at the recent history and the West Coast bias is getting more and more pronounced.