“He reminds me of Point Given. He's got a good mind, but he's still filling out and he's still learning."
That’s what trainer Bob Baffert had to say following Kaleem Shah Inc.'s Dortmund victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity.
The chestnut prevailed after a stretch-long duel with Mr. Z and Firing Line, just getting his head down on the line to post a new track record for 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.86 over the fast Los Alamitos dirt.
"He learned a lot,” jockey Martin Garcia said. “That was the first time he went two turns and usually he's right there (on the lead), but today they broke really fast.
“I was pretty comfortable. I knew what I had underneath. Two months ago, he was pretty quiet. He was a baby, when he first ran, it was a big difference."
"I asked (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?'” Baffert laughed. “I thought he won, but I wasn't sure. It was so close.”
With the win, Dortmund earned 10 points toward a starting berth in the 2015 Kentucky Derby via the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series of races.
“He's such a big horse. I wasn't sure how he was going to handle the turns here,” Baffert added. “He broke well and (Garcia) got him into his own rhythm.
Dortmund entered the Futurity -- previously named the Hollywood, then the CashCall, Futurity -- after romping in his initial two starts by a combined 12 1/2 lengths. The early favorite for the 2015 Kentucky Derby, it was no surprise to see him go off as the 3-5 choice against his four rivals with jockey Martin Garcia aboard.
Dortmund is now three-for-three in his career, having broken his maiden at Santa Anita Park on November 2 before traveling cross-country to take a Churchill Downs optional claimer 27 days later. Returning to Baffert's California-base for the Los Alamitos Futurity, the Big Brown colt has now banked $359,400 lifetime.