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Updated on 12/23/2014 2:26PM
Dortmund wins three-horse photo in Los Alamitos Futurity
CYPRESS, Calif. - Dortmund remained unbeaten and prevailed in both his stakes debut and his first start around two turns in the Grade 1, $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity on Saturday, but it wasn’t easy, for both Firing Line and Mr. Z made him work for it in one of the most dramatic and exciting races of the year.
Dortmund looked like a cinch with three furlongs to run after sitting behind the dueling leaders, but neither Firing Line nor Mr. Z was ready to pack it in, and it look the length of the elongated stretch for Dortmund ($3.20), the favorite, to get up and beat Firing Line by a head, with Mr. Z just a nose farther back in third.
Those three were 8 1/4 lengths clear of Bench Warrant, with No Problem last in the field of five. Dortmund was timed in 1:40.86, which is a track record for 1 1/16 miles, though there have been few races at that distance in this, the first year of two-turn Thoroughbred racing at Los Alamitos.
Bob Baffert, who trains Dortmund, said he was “holding his breath” down the stretch.
“I wasn’t sure how he would handle the turns here,” Baffert said of Dortmund, who is nearly 17 hands tall. With his size and chestnut-colored coat, he is very reminiscent of the former Baffert runner Point Given, who won this important race for 2-year-olds at Hollywood Park in 2000 and the following year won both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
“He’s a big horse, but he’s got a good mind,” Baffert said. “He’s big enough to be a handful if he wanted to be.”
As with Point Given, Baffert said the strategy with Dortmund is to “let him break, let him gather himself, and he’ll take you there.”
Dortmund, starting from post 3, broke sharply, and was right with Mr. Z and Firing Line for the first eighth of a mile before jockey Martin Garcia was able to let him fall into a perfect stalking position behind Mr. Z and Firing Line as the runners went around the first turn.
Dortmund got a bit eager heading into the backstretch, but remained in third as the leaders clicked off fractions of 21.98 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 45.29 seconds for a half-mile, and 1:09.64 for six furlongs.
Dortmund loomed up outside those two at the top of the stretch, and they were three abreast for most of the stretch, with Dortmund gradually getting up in the shadow of the wire.
Firing Line was between horses down the stretch. His rider, Rafael Bejarano, said he was bumped repeatedly by Mr. Z, who was trying to lug out the final six furlongs of the race.
“It probably cost me the race,” Bejarano said.
Mike Smith, aboard Mr. Z, said his left arm was sore after the race from trying to keep Mr. Z from lugging out badly.
“I could have wiped those guys out next to me,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had to pull that hard.”
Dortmund’s career began on Nov. 2, when he beat maidens sprinting at Santa Anita. He followed that up with a victory in a one-turn mile in an allowance race on Nov. 29 at Churchill Downs, a race Baffert chose to both prep him for the Los Alamitos Futurity and to get him used to the dirt at Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby will be run May 2.
The Los Alamitos Futurity was just three weeks after the Churchill race. Dortmund has been asked to do a lot in a short amount of time, and though this margin was razor thin, he has passed every test.
The win was worth 10 points on the system used by Churchill Downs to determine the field for the Kentucky Derby should more than the maximum 20 runners enter.
Dortmund earned $300,000 for the win. He is the second major stakes winner in the past two months for the team of Baffert, Garcia, and owner Kaleem Shah, who captured the Breeders’ Cup Classic with Bayern.
Capo capo what's your email?? My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org Email me, would love to talk on which horses you think are good for big races. I am a very good handicapper and also an exercise physiologist so right here you can tell I specialize in rehabilitation, performance enhancement, and stress testing. Don't you think my professor who won 25 year world champion coaching Olympics and is in hall of fame knows something about running??
Dortmund sat behind a speed duel going 45.20 and ran one lane wider in the stretch where there was a 10 length quicksand. Wow, get a rope. Baffert never sends his juveniles to churchill. Really ?? Lord nelson took the same plane as dortmund and lost in the featured kentucky jockey club. That was on the same day. Have you ever heard of exploit, captain steve or real quiet ?? They also ran in that churchill race. Remember big brown only had one race as a two year old. He won by 11 lengths without lasix at saratoga. You dont see turf races won by that margin very often. Pat reynolds trained him.
Baffert is being silly. Point Given was a Thunder Gulch out of a Turkoman mare.. Dortmund is a Big Brown out of a sprinting Tale of the Cat mare.. It just will not happen, the longer he goes the more his run will be diluted.
Wow!!! Nobody will know who actually won??? I'm surprised there was no dead heat!! I thought I saw the number 5 horses tongue sticking out so maybe he should of won. Anyway, regardless who won, this group is a weak field compared to other top 2 year olds like American pharaoh, Texas red, carpe diem, up start !!
capo, anyone that watches any of the races on the wst coast would know how much BTL this effort really was. east coast biased writers and fans have been whining for years about santa anita being an inside, speed biased track. but it is nothing compared to los alamitos. trying to close more then 3 lanes off the rail in the stretch there is next to impossible. its like running in quick sand. now as a handicapper, i dont mind it. as long as you know this, you learn to adjust and play inside speed or horses that you think will get the right trip. but talent wise and assessing talent wise, you have to take this into consideration when playing them back the next time. at first it may appear that he got the deck trip, stalking the pace. but in actuality, he ran much BTL overcoming the track bias to still get up. this is a real horse here. if these 3 come back at any other track next time, Dortmund would beat MR. Z by 10 lengths. now will he mature with age? that is the question. will he learn to relax and not get rank? who knows. not all do. some just appear to have more talent then they do. but he definately has shown more then anyone else thus far except for possibly American pharoh. anyone who dissmisses him is either just a baffert hater or not very bright.
Very nice learning experience for a very inexperienced horse. Not easy to go by Mr Z since Z had so many two turn races under his belt. I look forward to seeing how this guy develops.
Mr Z 1 for 8, Neck/Nose and Head from stakes glory and heavy travelled
This is no Derby horse. None of these horses will be in the gate in May.
Big race for the colt going two turns the first time. Who knows what toll this race took out of him..
Dortmund has some maturing to do. I was surprised he had such a tough time getting past the other two after they battled one another the entire race. All three in that photo are in the hunt for the Derby I think.