03/09/2015 3:38PM

Road to the Derby analysis: San Felipe Stakes

Shigeki Kikkawa
Dortmund relaxed nicely under Martin Garcia en route to victory in the San Felipe on Saturday.

Grade 2, $401,250 San Felipe Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Santa Anita, March 7, 2015
(50 Derby qualifying points for a win, 20 for second, 10 for third, 5 for fourth)

Winner: Dortmund
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Martin Garcia
Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.
Beyer Speed Figure: 104

DORTMUND remained unbeaten with his fifth win, his third straight in a stakes race, all at 1 1/16 miles, all worth points toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby, which he has guaranteed with the 70 points he’s now accumulated.

Along the way, Dortmund has shown a greater sense of maturity. In his first couple of races, he wanted to run off, but the exacting training of Bob Baffert and jockey Martin Garcia – who works Dortmund in the mornings – has molded Dortmund into a colt who is far more responsive to his rider’s commands. That paid off here. Dortmund equaled his career-best Beyer Speed Figure while beating a strong field that highlighted the depth of the Derby contenders in Southern California. The first three finishers all earned Beyer Figures of more than 100 in this race.

Dortmund had won the Robert Lewis Stakes in his prior start, outfinishing Firing Line in a torrid dogfight. Immediately after that race, Baffert’s initial reaction was that Dortmund might have to skip the San Felipe and await the Santa Anita Derby on April 4. But Dortmund quickly bounced back from that race, no doubt due to his imposing size. A smaller colt might have needed more time, but he didn’t. That constitution will serve him well with the schedule he’ll have in upcoming months.

In the San Felipe, Dortmund broke sharply and had the lead heading into the first turn, with only the longshot SIR SAMSON lapped on him. He had his ears up, loping along. As the field neared the top of the stretch, Martin Garcia began to niggle at Dortmund, who appeared to be idling on the lead.

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

A fresh challenge from BOLO caused Garcia to get after Dortmund with a left-handed whip, and Dortmund responded to keep him at bay while never endangered by PROSPECT PARK, who rallied for second. On the gallop-out, Dortmund still looked eager to do more, his ears forward. It didn’t look like this race took as much out of him as the Lewis. He is unquestionably the favorite for the Santa Anita Derby.

Prospect Park was floated out about four paths wide around the first turn and appeared eager to go quicker than jockey Kent Desormeaux thought best. Desormeaux was able to find cover going down the backside, and Prospect Park switched off nicely, awaiting his rider’s cue. Prospect Park had to split horses in upper stretch and then was angled to the middle of the track for his final drive. He made a nice run, and though he wasn’t going to catch the winner, there is no disgrace in finishing second to Dortmund. He’ll be the second choice in the Santa Anita Derby.

An interesting sidelight heading into the Santa Anita Derby will be what Desormeaux does if Texas Red -trained and co-owned by his brother Keith - can make it back for that race. Considering their schedules in recent weeks, it looks like Prospect Park is a better Derby candidate now. If Texas Red goes to the Arkansas Derby, Kent Desormeaux would not have a Santa Anita Derby conflict.

Bolo, who finished third, was between Dortmund and Sir Samson coming under the wire the first time, but jockey Victor Espinoza eased him back to go outside Sir Samson heading around the first turn. He advanced three paths wide on the far turn to make a run at Dortmund, got within a head of him in upper stretch, but could not keep pace and surrendered second very late to Prospect Park. He had missed some training owing to rainy weather in the weeks preceding this race, so he might not have been at his absolute best. This was his first race on dirt. He may be at his best down the line on turf, but at this time of year, you have to give a 3-year-old every chance on dirt.

LORD NELSON, who was fourth, again displayed what I’ve maintained all along, that he’s far superior around one turn than two. This wasn’t a bad effort, but he’ll never get a better chance to prove himself against top-class company going two turns, for he got a gorgeous, rail-skimming trip and simply wasn’t good enough. He was about 1 1/4 lengths behind Dortmund with three furlongs to go, and lost by 5 1/4. He needs either sprints, or some of the lesser Derby preps. The newly named Pat Day Mile (formerly the Derby Trial) at Churchill Downs on Derby Day would seem a perfect spot, as well as the Woody Stephens on Belmont Day. Both are around one turn.

THE GOMPER, who finished fifth, is another who seems best sprinting; his late-running sprint form is far superior to his two-turn form. He was bothered heading into the first turn by OCHO OCHO OCHO, who was having all kinds of trouble inside, then The Gomper started tossing his head about when moving around the first turn. He got beat to a spot by PULMARACK going around the far turn, had to wait in traffic, switched out, and went evenly. The Pat Day Mile and Woody Stephens would suit him, too.

Pulmarack, who was sixth, was four paths wide around the first turn, stayed out there down the backstretch, and was again four paths wide on the final turn. He raced on his wrong lead down the stretch, obviously tired from his scenic tour. This was his first try in open company. He can make a good living against California-breds.

Seventh-place finisher PAIN AND MISERY had to avoid Ocho Ocho Ocho and The Gomper heading into the first turn, then was able to finally drop over from his outside post and saved ground while last. He was asked to go three furlongs out and could not keep up, then passed a few tired rivals in the stretch.

Ocho Ocho Ocho finished eighth after a horrible early trip. He appeared to be jostled between Lord Nelson and Dortmund at the start, became rank, ran up on the heels of Lord Nelson heading into the first turn, then tried to get out, taking The Gomper with him. He was seventh, while toward the inside, heading into the backstretch, advanced to a contending position three furlongs out, but was outrun from that point, though jockey Mike Smith hit him just once and did not beat him up when the cause appeared lost. His trainer, Jim Cassidy, said Ocho Ocho Ocho came out of the race with cuts on his legs from the bumping early in the race.

Sir Samson, who finished ninth, was sent from his wide draw to go up and attend the pace of Dortmund. He remained there until midway on the turn, when the pace quickened. He was asked to go with the leaders, but instead retreated. This was his first try around two turns. He also should go back to sprints.

KENJISSTORM, who finished last of 10, was rank while between horses in the second flight of runners going around the first turn. He remained in traffic until the far turn, where he quickly surrendered.


Fred Robertson More than 1 year ago
It seemed to me that the ride Bejarano gave Lord Nelson was ill-advised. He had no business that close to the pace and should have been reserved farther back for one run. He could have had the rail either way, and he would not have been so close to fairly fast fractions set by his stablemate. I haven't given up on Lord Nelson going two turns yet.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Dortmund is still learning his craft. That should be scary to other connections who enter against him. If he continues to improve at this pace, he will win the Derby, Preakness, and could be in line for a Secretariat type performance in the Belmont. Not outlandish to consider.
Gary Smith More than 1 year ago
Great Analysis Jay!According to Trakus,Bolo traveled 48 feet farther than Dortmand and 61 feet farther than Prospect Park,and had to check to avoid clipping heels with Dortmund at the 16th pole ,per DRF chart caller.Bolo also galloped out with Dortmund,although for whatever reason Desormeaux usually never gallops his horses out after a race?I feel that Bolo was second best.Forget that he,s a better grass horse ,he,s pretty good on the dirt also.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Bolo never galloped out with Domrtund, not sure where you heard that one from. Dortmund was already clearing Bolo and put him away. Dortmund idles when he no longer sees anyone challenging him. Easy win for Dortmund.
Gary Smith More than 1 year ago
Check out the replay .watch the gallop out.
Mike More than 1 year ago
I did buddy, it's as if you are pretending to see something that didn't happen. Bolo wasn't even in sight of Dortmund in the gallop out.
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
Trakus stats are inconsequential at best and misleading at worst.
R. Carlos Nanez More than 1 year ago
Mr. Jay Privman, why don't you get a horse and the trainer license ?, so that way you can find out by yourself what it take to get a horse in the proper distance, instead of tell the connection of Lord Nelson where they should run him.
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
Perhaps not reading a journalist's opinion would allow your blood pressure to regulate.
Joe Schabelli More than 1 year ago
From what I saw after the finish line Dortmund was galloping out nicely and Prospect Park did not look very comfortable. Let's also not overlook the fact that Prospect Park was carrying 5 pounds less than Dortmund either and that Dortmund was pressed on the lead whereas Prospect Park was allowed to settle and run his race without pressure. Bolo had to steady late or he would have finished ahead of Prospect Park too. I'll give him another race before completely dismissing him. I have Dortmund finishing his last quarter in 24.19 which is by far the best finish for a winner this spring on dirt and he did it running a mile in a couple ticks over 1:35 which makes it even more impressive. I'm intrigued by Prospect Park and have been since his big Allowance Race, I have him in some futures at 35/1and in some exactas as well but let's face it on this day Dortmund carried more weight, carried the burden of pressure on the lead, finished impressively, and galloped out much better than any other horse. He was by far the best.
Joe Schabelli More than 1 year ago
Watched the race again and it's worth noting that Desormeaux on Prospect Park was giving him the whip pretty good in the stretch while Garcia was simply rubbing Dortmund or flashing the whip. Not much encouragement needed just enough to keep him focused. PP made up no ground when Dortmund was asked for his final push . It wasn't until the race was in the bag and Dortmund was simply kept to the task until he did. On top of that Dortmund has already proven to be a tiger if confronted and has won impressively at CD. Every year people get enamored by big stretch runs from horses who end up falling short. I can hear the noise blowing in from the West Coast over the Rockies now, "PP" is my Belmont Horse is what I am hearing. Sometimes what is visually impressive is the result of too little too late.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Spot on observation. The amount of idiots in horse racing leave me speechless sometimes, good to see something right posted once in a while.
Chris Jones More than 1 year ago
I suggest part of the whipping in the stretch by Desormeaux was due to Prospect Park's greenness. PP was looking at the crowd and almost running sideways at times. He was never going to beat Dortmund on this day, but I still question Dortmund in a 20-horse race if he is not able to get clear near the lead. He is so big, and though he has a high cruising speed, he has no real turn of foot if it comes to that - reminds me of Curlin on the grass.
tommy More than 1 year ago
The analysis is that Dortmund won all races at the 1 1/16 distance by one length or less. Although in my eyes, firing line did beat him at Los alamitos but they gave the decision to Dortmund. I'm not impressed yet with Dortmund because he's not as superior as everyone perceives him to be. Unless Dortmund runs 1 1/8 distance between 1:46 -1:47, I won't bet him to win the Kentucky derby. So far I'm really impressed with international star, firing line, el kabier, far from over, carpe diem, metaboss, and I'm still considering frosted since he thrives on long distance races. Ortiz needs to figure out how to give frosted a better ride and it coincides with the way they train him. If they want frosted to be on the pace, then he really needs to be fit and run 5 miles a day at a moderate pace. If they want him to run off the pace i would do an intense 2 mile interval run to develop his anaerobic capacity!
Juan DE La Cruz More than 1 year ago
I agree! To be a Kentucky derby caliber, one should run the 1 1/8 mile the time mentioned above, I would like to add It's a Knockout , a one dimensional horse.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Yea, i had to cailablrate the vo2 max calculation to specific times at certain distances. I had created my own spread sheet so that I can handicap a race in 5 minutes and pick out the winners!!! As far as itsAknockout, I don't think he will thrive in longer distances and I would rather take pletchers best horses which are carpe diem and far from over. Carpe diem and far from over ran consistently 1 1/16 @ 1:43 on different tracks which is a good sign! But my favorite horses for kentucky derby right now are metaboss, international star, carpe diem, far from over , firing line, el kabier, and maybe frosted since his best races came at 1 1/8 but we will have to see again!
Chuck Berger More than 1 year ago
An old axiom..................never down grade the winner's time. He in all probably could have and would have run faster had he needed to. You can down grade the horses he left in his wake. DORTMUND is a fighter. Another thing you might want to consider is that time only matters if you are in jail or need to catch a plane.
tommy More than 1 year ago
That's true but in this case it's not true!! Dortmund was ridden out so hard that he was tired and only won by nose which indicates it was a max test!! California chrome ran the San Felipe and did it in 1:40 and the comments were ridden out never asked!! Anyway please bet Dortmund in exacta and trifecta so I can take a larger percentage in the pool!! I will knock out Dortmund from exacta and post number 1,2, 19,20 and then pick my best horses !!
Mike More than 1 year ago
"Although in my eyes, firing line did beat him at Los alamitos but they gave the decision to Dortmund." Are you the dumbest f%^ing idiot around? The photo finish showed Dortmund by a clear head.
tommy More than 1 year ago
I showed that video to many people and they said the same thing. They even said it was so tight that Dortmund may even had third and that mr z was 2nd. It was a 3 way dead heat because it was so tight to call. Baffert recalled with a smile " today we got the decision, it was a really tight race and this years group of is very tough"
Walter More than 1 year ago
Hey Tommy, Maybe you should use calibrate the Los Al Futurity w your VO2 Max calculation? It will probably give you the correct result.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Firing line has a higher vo2 max!!! Equal weight for Dortmund, firing line, mr z, but firing line ran the mile @ 1:34 and it was firing line holding with those fast fractions and beat Dortmund and mr z by nose!!!
Mike More than 1 year ago
Yeah, on a track that was heavily speed biased and while Dortmund didn't handle the turns well and was out in the middle of the track on the 2nd turn. Tommy, you shouldn't be allowed to post as many stupids things on the internet as you do, it should be illegal.
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
I have to give you credit for fitting so much nonsense into one paragraph.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Yeah, many typos due to ipad , and terrible grammar with run on sentences! That's why on blogs and text messages, you can made as many errors as you can without proof reading!!
tommy More than 1 year ago
Lol ipad, for the 100th time, it's make not made lol opps, I type so bad since I'm a strong guy with big arms and fingers lol
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Prospect park has a serious problem drifting inward in the stretch. Put him down on the rail and that will straighten him out
Mike More than 1 year ago
Great idea, put him down on the rail in the Derby and watch him to try bounce around through the field turning for home. Gl with that one.