Undefeated Big Brown colt Dortmund will be the likely favourite for next month’s Kentucky Derby after another convincing victory in the G1 Santa Anita Derby (1800m) on Saturday.
Turning California’s most important three-year-old event into little more than a weekend stroll, he was sent straight to the lead by Martin Garcia and lengthened at the top of the straight to extend the margin to more than 4 lengths.
“I’ve been in this position before,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “You get excited when you know you have a legit contender. I’m just enjoying the moment because the next race is going to be the one. It’s good to see this horse just really developing – I just love the way he ran today.”
Dortmund is now a perfect six-for-six with over $1.28 million in prizemoney and will attempt to emulate his sire Big Brown who was also undefeated leading into the 2008 Kentucky Derby. He improved Baffert’s record to 7 wins in the last 20 editions of the Santa Anita Derby.
“I just told Martin you know you are on the best horse,” Baffert said. “Ride him like that.”
After breaking his maiden by 4 lengths at Santa Anita in November, the big chestnut won by 7 lengths at Churchill Downs and wrapped up his juvenile campaign with a head victory in the G1 Futurity Stakes at Los Alamitos.
Resuming this year, he was a narrow winner of the G3 Robert Lewis Stakes on February 7 and then took control of the G2 San Felipe Stakes last month.
Dortmund (3c Big Brown – Our Josephina by Tale of the Cat) lost his off-fore shoe at the start but was won like an odds-on favourite at Santa Anita. “He’s still learning,” Garcia said. “When they come up next to him and I ask him to go, he just takes off again.”
Vinery shuttler Big Brown is also in contention for the G1 Kentucky Oaks with promising filly Puca. She was runner-up in the G2 Gazelle Stakes (1800m) at Aqueduct on Saturday and has qualified for the fillies feature at Churchill Downs a day before the Derby.