Vinery shuttler Big Brown sired his first Group 1 winner when 2yo and Triple Crown aspirant Dortmund landed the Los Alamitos Futurity G.1 (1700m) in Los Angeles on Saturday.
A giant in stature, Dortmund is unbeaten in three starts and will go for a break as the winter favourite for the G1 Kentucky Derby in May. He was the 9-1 top choice in the opening market issued last month after runaway wins at Santa Anita and Churchill Downs.
Despite racing three wide the entire trip, the Bob Baffert trained colt set a new track-record of 1.40.86s for 1700 metres. In a thrilling Futurity finish, Dortmund needed every inch of the long Los Alamitos straight to prevail in a three-way photo-finish.
Dortmund (2c Big Brown – Our Josephina by Tale of the Cat) stalked Mr. Z and Firing Line before ranging up to the leaders on the home turn. The trio raced at close-quarters down the centre of the track before jockey Martin Garcia extracted a final surge from the odds-on favourite right on the line.
“I wasn’t sure how he would handle the turns here,” Baffert said. “He’s big enough to be a handful if he wanted to be but he’s got a good mind.”
Baffert said the chestnut, who is almost 17 hands, is reminiscent of his classic winner Point Given who won the Futurity before going on to claim the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 2001. “We use the same strategy,” the Hall of Fame trainer explained. “Let him break, let him gather himself and he will take you there.
“Dortmund has unbelievable cruising speed and a potent late kick. If a horse get better when asked to go longer, the sky’s the limit.”
Bred in Kentucky by Emilie Gerlinde Fojan, Dortmund has now earned $359,400 for owner Kaleem Shah. He made $90,000 as a yearling and toured the sale-ring again in May when knocked down for $140,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic 2YO Sale.
Big Brown captured the 2008 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Haskell Invitational. Dortmund’s dam Our Josephina was Group 3 placed and is from the immediate family of Group 1 hero Mogambo (Mr. Prospector).