Unbeaten colt Dortmund has been drawn to advantage in gate 8 for the G1 Kentucky Derby (2000m) on Saturday.
A massive son of Vinery shuttler Big Brown, he will be ridden by Martin Garcia and has been installed the 3-1 second choice behind stablemate American Pharoah (5-2 fav) who will jump from barrier 18.
“Dortmund’s pretty fast and I’m sure if he breaks well he’s going to be in a good spot,” trainer Bob Baffert said at Churchill Downs. “He does things really effortlessly. He galloped out strong here this week and wasn’t blowing. He’s handled it well.”
American Pharoah has won the G1 Arkansas Derby and G2 Rebel Stakes by a combined 14 lengths and has looked awesome on the training track leading up to the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Dortmund (3c Big Brown – Our Josephina byTale of the Cat) loses nothing by comparison and is perfect in six starts after a runaway victory in the G1 Santa Anita Derby (1800m) on April 4. He was bred by Emilie Gerlinde Fojan at Bona Terra Stud in Kentucky and sold to Kaleem Shah for $140,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Maryland 2YO Sale.
Fojan can see the athleticism of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown when looking at Dortmund and she’s hoping this year’s winner will follow the “like father, like son” theory.
There have been just three Kentucky Derby winners who have been represented by Derby winners of their own in the last 60 years; Swaps (1955) sired Chateaugay (1963), Unbridled (1990) sired Grindstone (1996) and Seattle Slew (1977) sired Swale (1984).
Big Brown also has Native Dancer in his sights as he has Puca in the Kentucky Oaks. Native Dancer was the last stallion to sire a clean-sweep with Native Street (Oaks) and Kauai King (Derby) in 1966
“I loved Big Brown so much, he was unbelievable,” Fojan said. “He was an undefeated Kentucky Derby winner. You have to love horses like that.”
Dortmund is 17.2 hands – his dam Our Josephina is 17 hands and Fojan didn’t want to guess her weight. In short, the mare is big, and Fojan was hoping for a smaller foal when she sent her to Big Brown.
“She’s large and she’d always had large babies. I was searching for a refined baby and instead I got a horse who’s bigger than she is,” Fojan said with a laugh. “But Big Brown did help Our Josephina produce a foal who carries that size well.
“I just loved the way Big Brown moved, he was so light on his feet,” Fojan recalled. “Dortmund is big but he’s so smooth and fast. He can work (1000m) in 58 and it looks like he’s not moving. The first time I saw him work like that, I couldn’t believe he was going that fast.”
Fojan breeds 25 mares a year and has sent some of them to Big Brown from the start. “It will be a dream and I wouldn’t miss going to Churchill Downs,” she said. “I’m going to take my walking shoes and I’m going to be thinking back to that first moment when he stood up and I knew he would be all right.”