11/28/2015 9:30PM

Dortmund overpowers rivals in Native Diver

Benoit Photo
Dortmund wins the Native Diver Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths Saturday at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – With American Pharoah now retired, the baton has been passed in trainer Bob Baffert’s barn to Dortmund, who couldn’t handle American Pharoah earlier this year in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness but certainly looked ready to take on all comers Saturday with an overpowering victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar.

The race and jockey assignment were both audibles. Dortmund originally was slated to run Friday at Churchill Downs in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, with Martin Garcia, but he came up with a slight quarter crack coming out of a workout, forcing Baffert to keep him home.

With Garcia tied up Saturday at Churchill Downs for Baffert with Mor Spirit in the Kentucky Jockey Club, Baffert put Gary Stevens up on Dortmund. For Stevens, he said it reminded him of riding another big boy for Baffert years ago.

“He’s as big as Point Given was,” said Stevens, who won the Preakness and Belmont, among other races, on Point Given. “When I got legged up, I felt like I was going back in time.”

Dortmund ($3.20) then went out and made a mockery of the race, cruising home 4 1/2 lengths best while toting the high weight of 124 pounds. Imperative finished second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Iron Fist. Big Cazanova and Majestic City completed the order of finish.

Cat Burglar and Yahilwa were scratched in the morning, leaving a field of five.

Dortmund covered 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:48.06. He has won eight times in 10 starts. His only losses came in the Derby, in which he was third, and the Preakness, in which he was fourth.

“He’s a big, long-striding horse,” said Stevens. “He’s got a big engine. I didn’t know how much acceleration he had, but he hit another gear at the five-sixteenths pole. He’s got sprinter speed, but he acts like he can run a mile and a quarter.”

Dortmund has won races ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. His next start is scheduled to be in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs Dec. 26, Santa Anita’s opening day.

The route into that race hopefully will be smoother for owner Kaleem Shah, who admitted he had “a knot in my stomach” when Baffert called earlier in the week about the quarter crack.

“You fear the worst but hope for the best,” said Shah.

Dortmund put his best foot forward Saturday.

“He really put on a show today,” said Shah.

Mark Staats More than 1 year ago
Dortmund will be vulnerable at 7 for long you better hope run happy don't show up
Mark Staats More than 1 year ago
I I hope Run Happy goes
Marilyn Shively More than 1 year ago
I love Dortmund and hope he has a great year
SmartyJ2004 More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for his next race in the Malibu!
Tracy Smith More than 1 year ago
American Pharoah for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year! HORSE RACING NATION UNITE! The popular vote portion, of Sports Illustrated's contest for Sportsman of the Year, appears to be coming down to the Kansas City Royals and the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, AMERICAN PHAROAH. While the Kansas City Star is busy soliciting votes for the Royals, AMERICAN PHAROAH needs his legions of fans to act in his behalf. Please encourage friends, family, coworkers and neighbors to vote and to help spread the word in any/all of the following ways: Feel free to post this text to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels along with the link below. If you have access to web sites, please post the link below and request votes. If you are conducting a live racing meet/horse show or have another horse/business/family-related get together planned during the next two weeks, please make an announcement during the event, spreading the word. If you have customer reward programs/membership lists, please send out an e-mail asking all to cast a vote for AMERICAN PHAROAH. If you know a teacher/professor, ask them to have their students vote! If you know someone in the newspaper business, ask them to take on the Kansas City Star! If you know someone who, "knows someone," please forward this e-mail to them! http://www.si.com/sportsmanofyear/2015/11/10/vote-si-sportsman-poll Thanks for your time and assistance in this matter! The contest ends December 12, 2015. We can do this! A million and one votes for a one-in-a-million horse! Go PHAROAH!!!!!!!!!!
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Would be nice,but Horseracing has gone downhill in national interest since Secretariat(setting holding records for fastest times in 2,should be 3 triple crown races)took the SI award.Baseball is as popular as ever.Longshot.Warriors/Steph Curry should not be underestimated.
AskRubenHow2Bet More than 1 year ago
Dortmund @SantaAnitaPark Opening Day... 28 days away
AskRubenHow2Bet More than 1 year ago
Dortmund @SantaAnitaPark Opening Day... 28 days away
Gj Ubar More than 1 year ago
Love me some Dortmund. I especially loved seeing my favorite jockey on him today! Rock on, Dortmund!
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
I have always thought DM is as good as AP.
Marilyn Shively More than 1 year ago
though I love Dortmund, he clearly was and is not as good as AP; the proof is in the pudding. That said, I will be rooting for Dortmund to have a great year.
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Dortmund Rules.