Bob Baffert is in the enviable, yet nerve-wracking, position of having the two morning line favorites for Saturday’s $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1) as he aims to win his fourth Run for the Roses.
Favorite American Pharoah (5-2, post 17) and Dortmund (3-1, post 8) both bring impeccable records into the first jewel of the Triple Crown.
American Pharoah, who lost his debut, has won every race since, all four coming in graded stakes, by at least three lengths. Last year’s 2-year-old champion is owned by Zayat Stables, who ran second in the Derby with Baffert trainees Bodemeister and Pioneerof the Nile. The latter is the sire of American Pharoah.
Victor Espinoza, who won the Derby on Baffert’s War Emblem in 2002, rides American Pharoah.
Baffert was asked about the wide post for American Pharoah, but had no problems with the spot.
"It's OK. It's good. Anything but being down there (in post 1 or 2),” the conditioner said. “We talked about being on the outside. I feel like 20 would have been great for me. Out there at least you have a little bit of an option. He's fast. American Pharoah is fast.”
Dortmund, who is undefeated in five starts, captured all three of the major southern California preps en route to Louisville. He’ll be piloted by Martin Garcia, his only rider to date.
Dortmund, who like his stablemate possesses plenty of natural speed, got an ideal draw according to Baffert.
"He's a horse that gets going. He's quick. He'll be right there in the mix. It will be tougher to watch one in there, so whichever one breaks the best I'm going to key on him."