Dortmund gave Bob Baffert a record seventh victory in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) on Saturday, though after an incredibly tight three-way photo, he wasn’t 100% certain that the flashy chestnut colt had come away with the win.
"I asked Martin (jockey Martin Garcia) did you know you won? He said, 'Yes,' and I said, 'Why didn't you give me a fist pump to let me know?' I thought he won, but I wasn't sure. It was so close.”
The stage for the dramatic finish was set at the top of the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile contest. Mr. Z and Firing Line had been battling on the front end for the first six furlongs, which went in a sizzling 1:09.64.
By mid-stretch, Dortmund made it three across the track. With none of the horses giving up in the least, the three hit the finish line on nearly even terms. The official chart showed Dortmund by a head over Firing Line, with Mr. Z just a nose back in third.
“They're all really good horses,” said Baffert. “(Dortmund is) such a big horse. I wasn't sure how he was going to handle the turns here. He broke well and (Garcia) got him into his own rhythm. He reminds me of Point Given (Baffert’s 2001 Horse of the Year). He's got a good mind, but he's still filling out and he's still learning.''
Dortmund’s record is now a perfect 3-for-3. Following his dominating allowance win Nov. 29, he was made the individual favorite at 9-1 in the first 2015 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Owned by Kaleem Shah, Dortmund is by Big Brown out of the stakes-winning mare Our Josephina and was a $140,000 buy this spring at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale.
Baffert’s previous six Futurity wins came when the race was run as either the Hollywood or CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park.