Dortmund, California Chrome, Songbird Prove to be Superior

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D.S. Williamson

July 28th, 2016


California Chrome shines under the Meydan lights
(Photo by Kaz Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)

I don't usually blog about the races that occurred on the weekend before. Most of us have already read numerous articles about how great this horse ran, what that horse did on the track, etc. There just never seems like a reason to keep beating the drum. I'll usually come up with a power ranking article or a human interest piece. But I was so impressed with 3 horses this past weekend, that I have to blog about them. All 3 horses are from the West Coast:  Dortmund, California Chrome and Songbird.


Dortmund - Dortmund impressed me most of all. My 2015 Kentucky Derby horse ran his eyeballs out against California Chrome in the San Diego Handicap. Chrome ended up winning the race. But...wow. At one point, it looked like California Chrome was going to run right by Dortmund. In fact, Chrome did run past Dortmund before the gigantic son of Big Brown, upon seeing California Chrome, kept fighting. Dortmund loves to get into a pit fight. His attitude reminds me of Free House, the former California bred great trained by Paco Gonzalez who used to look into his opponent's eye before out running his rivals to the wire.

After the race, my brother Eddie and I talked about how Dortmund could be Bob Baffert's next great older horse. Everybody knows the job that Bob does with three-year-olds. But Bob has had some great older horses as well. Real Quiet beat Free House in the Pimlico Special in 1999. He also won the Hollywood Gold Cup that year. He was a favorite for the Breeders Cup Classic before getting hurt. Bob trained Game On Dude to a second place finish in the 2011 Breeders Cup Classic. He trained Bayern to an upset win over Shared Belief in the 2014 Breeders Cup Classic. After watching what Dortmund did this past Saturday, don't be surprised if Baffert has himself another monster.

California Chrome - California Chrome was brilliant in the San Diego. Although Dortmund impressed me more, Chrome won the race. So, how can I say that Chrome didn't impress me at all? Dortmund impressed me more because I truly feel, especially at the Pegasus World Cup distance of 1 1/8 miles, that Dortmund could be awfully tough by the time that February 2017 rolls around. But Chrome, let's be honest here, is the best horse in the world. Hands down. I don't want to hear anybody argue that. California Chrome has learned how to rate. That makes him ultra-dangerous at any distance. He won the Dubai World Cup rather easily. He faced what I think is going to be a brilliant horse for the greatest trainer to ever live in Bob Baffert in the San Diego and he beat that horse.

Songbird - Eddie thinks that Songbird is the best horse in training. It's hard for me to disagree with him after watching her take down the best three-year-old filly on the East Coast, Carina Mia, with relative ease in the Coaching Club American Oaks. What's incredible about Songbird is that she runs as fast as jockey Mike Smith needs her to run in order to win the race. Her speed ratings are all over the map. It's because she just knows what she's doing.

I'm not sure if I've ever seen a filly quite as talented as Songbird. To me, beating the boys isn't the measurement. Rachel Alexandra beat the boys but there is no doubt in my mind that both Escena and Go for Wand would have given Rachel all that she could handle. Songbird's only measurement on the planet since her connections won't run her against the boys is Beholder. Whether the 2 ever meet or not is anybody's guess.