When considering a wager on Dortmund, consider this — if there is no Kentucky Derby winner in the field, he will win. That has been true in his first 11 starts in which he has won eight times.
The most recent example of this oddity is the San Diego Handicap (G2) July 23, when he finished second to California Chrome. He was fourth behind American Pharoah in the Preakness Stakes and third to him in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
On his own, the unusually large Dortmund has accrued an impressive list of victories including the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in the spring of 2015 and the Native Diver Stakes (G3) near the end of that season. He is owned by Kaleem Shah and trained by Bob Baffert, who combined to win the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with Bayern. Both are named for German soccer teams.
Shah purchased Dortmund for $140,000 as an unraced 2-year-old at Fasig-Tipton Co.’s spring sale in Maryland. He was offered at two previous auctions in Kentucky. As a weanling at Keeneland’s November sale, he failed to meet breeder Emilie Fojan’s’ minimum price and was listed as unsold on a bid of $85,000. He then was sold for $90,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s July yearling sale.
Fojan saw Dortmund’s athleticism at her farm just outside Lexington, Kentucky long before he hit the track.
“I have these really long turnout paddocks,” she said in a December 2014 article in The Blood-Horse. “When I would turn the babies out in the morning he was already at the top of the hill when everyone else was standing still."
She added that as part of his pre-sale training, she took him to an equine swimming pool where she and other observers noticed he was far more advanced than his peers.