Dortmund Marches On in San Felipe

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9:29 pm EST

Dortmund advanced as a major threat for the first Saturday in May with a 1 1/4-length victory in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.

The strapping chestnut colt improved to a perfect record from five starts and gave Baffert a record fifth San Felipe win Saturday.

"I don't worry about stuff like that," Baffert said about the winning streak. "We're just worried about keeping him healthy."

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Dortmund led all the way in running 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.65 and paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.20 as the 4-5 favorite in a field of 10.

"It looks easy because he's such a good horse," Garcia said. "I'm always confident because I know how good he is."

Dortmund's pedigree suggests he could handle the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby distance. His father, Big Brown, won the 2008 Derby and Preakness before failing to finish in the Belmont, dashing his hopes of sweeping the Triple Crown.

"I don't think there will be any difference for him when we add more distance," Garcia said. "He can go any distance. It won't be a problem for him."

Dortmund earned 50 Kentucky Derby points. raising his total to 70, five behind leader El Kabeir, who won the Gotham Stakes on Saturday.

Prospect Park finished second after stalking from sixth position and returned $3.80 and $3.40. His jockey, Kent Desormeaux, called for a rematch with Dortmund in the Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
"They got the battle," he said. "We'll win the war."

Bolo was another half-length back in third after looming up to Dortmund mid-stretch and paid $4.60 to show. Lord Nelson, also trained by Baffert, was fourth, beaten 5 1/4 lengths. The Gomper was fifth, followed by Pulmarack, Pain and Misery, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Sir Samson and Kenjisstorm.

"Dortmund is a great horse, no doubt about it," said Victor Espinoza, who rode Bolo. "Just for a moment there at the top of the stretch I thought we could beat him, but he's too tough."

Ocho Ocho Ocho, who lost for the first time in four races, was squeezed back at the start between Baffert's two starters.

Baffert said he learned more Dortmund in his previous start, the Robert B. Lewis on Feb. 7, when the colt looked beaten with a furlong to go. Instead, he rallied again along the rail and won by a head over Firing Line.

"He's starting to fill out, get stronger," said Baffert. "He's so big, the worst thing they can do is take him back and get him behind a wall of horses. He was doing it pretty easily."

Edited Santa Anita release with additional content by Dick Downey

Photo by Santa Anita