Dortmund Races for Baffert’s Affection


It must be pretty hard to be Dortmund. Before the Kentucky Derby he was undefeated, winning the Los Alamitos Futurity and the Santa Anita Derby all while completely dominating his competition, physically. Everyone loved Dortmund, he did everything right and won when he should have lost.

Not only is he huge, but tiny Jimmy Barnes makes him seem even bigger
Not only is he huge, but tiny Jimmy Barnes makes him seem even bigger

He loaded into the gate at Churchill Downs as the second choice to win with the favorite being his stable mate and eventual winner, American Pharoah.

That was the last time anyone gave a rats ass about Dortmund.

After the Derby it was pretty clear who the favorite was in the barn. You can google search plenty of pictures with Baffert leading around Pharoah, but you’ll be hard pressed to find one with him handling Dortmund even a little bit.

“He’s a really big, strong horse,” Baffert said talking about Dortmund, “the determination he’s shown in the stretch is unreal. Hey wait a minute, have you met American Pharoah? Come on! Lets go take selfies with him.”

Dortmund spent most of the year crying in his stall and even “bruised his ribs” in August. They say he cast in his stall one morning, but considering it happened pretty soon after Pharoah won the Haskell, its more likely Dortmund threw a temper tantrum realizing that there is nothing he can do to win back Baffert’s love.

Until now.

Next weekend is the Grade One Clark Handicap, one of the premier post-Breeders’ Cup races. Baffert has won this race before with a few horses including former world record holder Isitingood. Dortmund couldn’t be more thrilled for the (h)opportunity.

“With Pharoah gone, this is my time to shine,” Dortmund said with a crazy look in his eye, “it’s no Triple Crown, but it’s still a big deal! Hopefully Bob remembers how great we had it and we can go back to the way it was before the stupid Triple Crown.”

Maybe the crazy eyes are just his face.
Maybe the crazy eyes are just his regular face.

Not only has American Pharoah retired but two of Baffert’s other Breeders’ Cup winners, Bayern and Secret Circle, have moved to the shed this year. His only real threat is Baffert’s top two year old Toews on Ice, but other Baffert horses with similar resumes were  So Brilliant and Really Mr Greely, so lets not get too excited about Toews yet.

“Look out everyone, Big D is back!” yelled Dortmund childishly down the shedrow.

Other horses likely to run in the Clark include Fayette winner Race Day, Classic runner-up Effinex, Travers winner Keen Ice, last year’s winner Hoppertunity, as well as the legend himself Mr. Z.


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