ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Dortmund won the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths Saturday to improve to 5-0 and solidify his status as a major threat for the Kentucky Derby.
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 3-year-olds at Santa Anita. The colt is trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, who earned a record fifth San Felipe victory.
“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.”
Prospect Park returned $3.80 and $3.40, and jockey Kent Desormeaux wasn’t willing to give an inch. Prospect Park could meet Dortmund next 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 and paid $4.60 to show.
“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 lost for the first time after winning his first three races, including the $1 million Delta Jackpot. He finished eighth.
Dortmund earned 50 points under the system used by Churchill Downs to determine the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 2. The strapping chestnut colt is one of Baffert’s two top Derby candidates. American Pharoah is the other.
“It’s like asking which kid I love more,” Baffert said. “They’re two different horses.”
Baffert 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,” Baffert said. “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.”
Baffert’s other entry, Lord Nelson, was fourth. The Gomper was fifth, followed by Pulmarack, Pain and Misery, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Sir Samson and Kenjisstorm.
This article was written by Beth Harris from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.