Dortmund gets up in final strides

Profile Picture: James Scully

December 21st, 2014

Dortmund continued to impress while being tested for the first time in his three-race career, remaining unbeaten with an ultra-game performance in Saturday’s Grade 1 Futurity Stakes.

Wide the entire way, the massive two-year-old colt needed every step of the long Los Alamitos stretch run to prevail, edging Firing Line and Mr. Z in the head-bobbing photo finish.

Trainer Bob Baffert put it best when stating afterward, “Those are three really good horses.”

Firing Line, a 4 ¼-length maiden winner in his previous start for Simon Callaghan, displayed outstanding professionalism despite a lack of experience, battling courageously between horses from the far turn to the wire. His future looks extremely bright.

The Line of David colt just missed in second after being bumped hard late by Mr. Z to his inside. The latter, a four-time stakes runner-up for D. Wayne Lukas and a son of Malibu Moon, missed second by only a nose. Mr. Z is a very serious Kentucky Derby prospect entering next season.

Dortmund raced so far out, closer to the grandstand than the inside rail, and the 2-5 favorite gave supporters a scare – it looked like he might stall and settle for a minor award behind rivals for the longest time before finding the necessary late surge.

It was a far cry from his first two starts – a 4 ¾-length debut win at Santa Anita on November 2 and a 7 ¾-length romp at Churchill Downs November 29 over entry-level allowance foes – but his two-turn debut served as a much more beneficial experience.

Dortmund showed toughness while stepping up against much better competition and is eligible to keep moving forward. The chestnut is easily the most talented offspring so far from Kentucky Derby and Preakness-winning sire Big Brown and his female family features a nice mix of speed and stamina.

Baffert is well-situated entering 2015, with multiple Grade 1 winner American Pharoah expected back in training next month. The three-time Kentucky Derby winner said he plans to keep Dortmund and American Pharoah separated in the Road to the Kentucky Derby.