Big Brown (USA) colossus Dortmund kept his unbeaten Californian record intact with a four-length victory in the G3 Native Diver Stakes (1800m) at Del Mar on Saturday.
Dortmund tracked Majestic City until the home turn and then blew by the front-runner without first-time rider Gary Stevens resorting to the stick. The towering son of former shuttler Big Brown is now a perfect 7 from 7 on the west coast.
Stevens reckoned the 17 hands chestnut reminded him of Point Given who he partnered to Group 1 victories in the 2001 Preakness and Belmont Stakes. “When I got legged up, I felt like I was going back in time. He’s a big boy.”
Trainer Bob Baffert booked the Hall Of Fame jockey when regular rider Martin Garcia was required for his stable runners at Churchill Downs. Dortmund was initially nominated for the G1 Clark Hcp under the Twin Spires but stayed at home when a quarter-crack kept him from travelling.
“He’s a long-striding horse with a big engine,” Stevens said. “He accelerated to another gear passing Majestic City. He’s got sprinter speed but he acts like he can run a mile and a quarter.”
The Native Diver was Dortmund’s second win in a row following a spell. He had won the LR Big Bear Stakes first-up at Santa Anita last month.
Baffert had tipped him out for the summer after a Kentucky Derby third and Preakness Stakes fourth behind stablemate American Pharoah. The two legs of the Triple Crown have been his only losses in 10 starts for owner Kaleem Shah.
Dortmund (3c Big Brown – Our Josephina by Tale of the Cat) is scheduled to appear next in the Malibu Stakes (1400m) at Santa Anita on Boxing Day.