Dortmund Expected to Score Again in Santa Anita Derby
Dortmund Expected to Score Again in Santa Anita Derby: Already undefeated and tested, Dortmund appears set to earn his sixth straight win on Saturday at Santa Anita Park in which a small field of six horses will be competing in the Santa Anita Derby for 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. From all angles, including class, speed figures, and running style, Dortmund is the best horse in this field. Strange things can happen, but a loss would come as a surprise given what this horse has shown in his previous efforts.
This Bob Baffert-trained colt has accomplished a lot in his short career by winning three graded stakes races. His most recent one came in the Grade II San Felipe when he led from start to finish and defeated Prospect Park and Bolo. Both foes are returning in this race. Some trip handicappers pointed out that Bolo ran wide throughout the San Felipe, yet Dortmund set the pace the entire way, and the fractions he set were not soft. As for Prospect Park, he took clear aim in the stretch and failed. Unless Dortmund somehow regresses at nine furlongs, both Prospect Park and Bolo will be competing for second.
Of course, two starts ago Dortmund had an epic duel with top Derby contender Firing Line in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis and squeaked out the victory. At the time, Dortmund received some criticism for taking so long to put Firing Line away, and Firing Line was knocked for giving up the lead in the stretch. Then, Firing Line won by over 14 lengths in the Sunland Derby, and the quality of their duel became clear.
His speed figures check out great as well. Dortmund’s numbers this year rank among the best three-year-olds out there, with his top Beyer Speed Figures a pair of 104s. Only Materiality and Upstart ran faster route Beyers on dirt. On TimeformUS, Dortmund scored a high of 115.
In terms of running style, Dortmund won his five races with both leading and stalking tactics, so his rail post position for Saturday should be fine. Dortmund’s lone Achilles’ heel arises from how he loses ground on the final turn, and this likely gives backers a scare. Jockey Martin Garcia needs to keep Dortmund’s mind on business upon reaching this point of the race. Once they hit the final straightaway, Dortmund and his massive stride should prove too much for his opponents.
If Dortmund misfires or accidentally dumps Garcia, Baffert holds another winning chance with One Lucky Dane ridden by Rafael Bejarano. Sired by Lookin at Lucky, he has won two out of three dirt starts in a career that began slowly with a few losses on synthetic at Del Mar. In those two wins on dirt, One Lucky Dane won by over nine lengths each time! Furthermore, that first nine-length win came against the same Prospect Park he will face in this race. His lone dirt failure came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
One Lucky Dane’s longer distance potential is questionable on the bottom side. His dam Echo Harbor only raced four times, each time in sprint races. His second dam Echo Echo Echo ran as a sprinter, too. Lookin at Lucky ran as a route horse on dirt, which means One Lucky Dane inherits some longer distance blood. But, there must exist a reason why the dam and second-dam competed as sprinters, and their influence may negatively affect him here.
Those searching for a true longshot might try the Golden Gate invader Cross the Line. Sure, his Golden Gate form does not inspire that much confidence against a horse like Dortmund. Those races came on Tapeta though, and sometimes horses improve when switching surfaces for the first time if they have the proper breeding. Cross the Line’s half-sister Ria Antonia performed well on the dirt last year, hinting that this colt will tolerate the new footing as well.
Without a huge star besides Dortmund to eat money, Dortmund’s odds will be very low by post time. If playing this race is a must, then single Dortmund in horizontal wagers. As for an exacta or trifecta with Dortmund keyed, they hardly seem worth the effort considering the low value. Maybe get Cross the Line involved underneath and hope he completes the ticket.
Santa Anita Derby 2015 Events & Fashion
Santa Anita Derby 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race #8 3:30 PM PT
1 Dortmund 3-5 Garcia/Baffert
2 One Lucky Dane 5-1 Bejarano/Baffert
3 Cross the Line 15-1 Hernandez/Hollendorfer
4 Bolo 4-1 Smith/Gaines
5 Prospect Park 7-2 Desormeaux/Sise, Jr.
6 Bad Read 30-1 Sanchez Gutierrez/O’Neill
San Felipe Stakes 2015 Dortmund Replay:
Robert B. Lewis Stakes 2015 Dortmund -vs- Firing Line Replay: