Dortmund wins Santa Anita Derby, remains undefeated

Dortmund, jockey Martin Garcia after the Santa Anita Derby. Photo by Terri Keith.

Dortmund, jockey Martin Garcia after the Santa Anita Derby. Photo by Terri Keith.

Dortmund’s trainer, Bob Baffert, came into the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday with big expectations for the chestnut colt, who easily kept his unblemished record intact while heading toward the Kentucky Derby as one of the likely favorites.

“I know coming in here he was ready the way he was training. I knew he was golden,” Baffert said in the winner’s circle shortly after the race.

Dortmund – who paid $3.20 to win as the 3-5 favorite – chalked up his sixth win and fourth graded stakes victory in the $1 million, 1 1/8-mile race.

“I just love the way he ran today,” Baffert said.

Like his dad, 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, Dortmund will carry an undefeated record into the nation’s most prestigious race for 3-year-olds.

“Being compared to horses like Seattle Slew and Smarty Jones and a few others who have gone undefeated into the Kentucky Derby, I think is incredible,” the horse’s owner, Kaleem Shah said.

“You get excited when you know you have a legit contender, and just like last year with what Art Sherman went through with California Chrome,” Baffert said of last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness champ and eventual Horse of the Year.

“Really, I can’t believe I’m so fortunate to be in this position with two outstanding 3-year-olds,” said Baffert, who is also preparing last year’s 2-year-old male champion, American Pharoah, for the Arkansas Derby next week.

Another of Baffert’s 3-year-olds, One Lucky Dane, completed the exacta in the Santa Anita Derby, with Bolo finishing third and Prospect Park in fourth.

“Oh yeah, he’ll go to the Derby,” Baffert said of One Lucky Dane, who came back in 16 days after his first race of the year.

“He qualified in Bob Baffert’s eyes. I don’t need 40 points. They’ve got to qualify in my eyes.”

Baffert said there are “some nice horses out there,” noting that he watched Frosted’s Wood Memorial victory.

“They’re all tough. They’re all good horses, and they all have to get there. They all have to bring their A-game,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “So, you can have the best horse, but if they don’t bring their A-game and get the trip, it doesn’t matter with 20 horses, you know, it’s tough.”

Horse Bits:

— Kaleem Shah said the red, white and blue silks worn by Dortmund and last year’s Breeders’ Cup winner Bayern symbolize how he has been “very patriotic” since becoming a U.S. citizen more than 25 years ago.

— Trainer Richard Mandella quipped that he told jockey Joe Talamo to “get off and run yourself” if Spirit of Xian couldn’t get the last quarter in the Grade 3 Providencia on turf. In the end, Talamo didn’t have to, with the 3-year-old filly winning by a neck at odds of nearly 17-1.

— Trainer John Sadler called it “a good day at the office” following four wins on the day, including the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks with Stellar Wind. He said the plan is for the chestnut daughter of Curlin to head next to the Kentucky Oaks.