Dortmund is showing he's ready to race sooner than later — and trainer Bob Baffert isn't about to slow him down.
One of Baffert's top Kentucky Derby prospects, Dortmund is now set to run in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday rather than the Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
The trainer says his unbeaten 3-year-old colt came out of last month's win in the Robert B. Lewis in good shape, adding “we just didn't want to keep him training for another month.”
Dortmund enters a weekend full of preps still No. 1 in the AP's latest Run to the Roses Top 10 list of Kentucky Derby contenders. There's one newcomer — Take Charge Brandi at No. 9 after trainer D. Wayne Lukas told the Daily Racing Form the filly is a go for the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 14.
Another change in the Top 10 has Upstart moving to No. 2, with Texas Red dropping to No. 3. Texas Red, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, is still recovering from an abscess of the right front foot following the San Vicente.
The field for the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe also includes Dortmund stablemate Lord Nelson, Ocho Ocho Ocho and Prospect Park.
Two other preps are on tap Saturday — the Tampa Bay Derby featuring the 3-year-old debut of No. 5 Carpe Diem and the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct with Derby prospect and likely favorite El Kabeir, winner of the Jerome and second in the Withers.
The San Felipe, Tampa Bay Derby and Gotham are qualifying races for the Kentucky Derby on May 2. Each race is worth 50 points to the winner, 20 for second, 10 for third and 5 for fourth.
Here's our Top 10:
1. Dortmund (Bob Baffert, trainer; Martin Garcia, jockey): Training too well to keep out of races, so it's San Felipe time for unbeaten colt. … Won Robert B. Lewis on Feb. 7. … Next start: San Felipe, Santa Anita (Saturday). … Derby future odds (pool 3): 9-1.
2. Upstart (Rick Violette, Jr., Jose Ortiz): Top contender training in Florida for final prep before May 2 Derby. … Nearly 3 lengths the best in Fountain of Youth but DQ'd to second for interference in stretch. … Next start: Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park (March 28) or Wood Memorial, Aqueduct (April 4). … Odds: 15-1.
3. Texas Red (Keith Desormeaux, Kent Desormeaux): Still no workout since abscess of right front foot after running second in San Vicente. … Time off Derby trail does not bode well for BC Juvenile winner. … Next start: Santa Anita Derby. … Odds: 14-1.
4. American Pharoah (Baffert, Victor Espinoza): Worked 7 furlongs in 1:23.80 at Santa Anita on Feb. 27. … All signs go for 3-year-old debut in Arkansas. … Next start: Rebel, Oaklawn Park (March 14). … Odds: 8-1.
5. Carpe Diem (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez): Long-awaited 3-year-old debut a few days away for BC Juvenile runner-up. … Worked 4 furlongs in 49.70 at Palm Beach Downs on Feb. 28. … Next start: Tampa Bay Derby, Tampa Bay Downs (Saturday). … Odds: 10-1.
6. Far From Over (Pletcher, Manuel Franco): With some new partners aboard, decision made to skip Gotham and opt for one more Derby prep. … Withers winner training at Palm Beach Downs. … Next start: Wood Memorial. … Odds: 13-1.
7. Itsaknockout (Pletcher, Luis Saez): Finished 2¾ lengths behind Upstart in Fountain of Youth, but declared winner via DQ. … Won two previous starts. … Next start: Florida Derby. … Odds: 30-1.
8. Far Right (Ron Moquett, Mike Smith): May be perfect horse-rider combo for Derby run. … Comes into final prep off wins in Smarty Jones and Southwest. … Next start: Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn Park (April 11). … Odds: 31-1.
9. Take Charge Brandi (D. Wayne Lukas, undecided): Filly now scheduled to take on boys in Arkansas. … 2-year-old female champ has won last four races, most recently Martha Washington. … Next start: Rebel. … Odds: 4-1 (mutuel field).
10. Firing Line: (Simon Callaghan, Gary Stevens): Worked 5 furlongs in 59.60 at Santa Anita on Feb. 27. Gave Dortmund plenty to handle in last two starts, both runner-up finishes. … No Dortmund in next race. … Next start: Sunland Derby, Sunland Park (March 22). … Odds: 29-1.
Keep an eye on: Daredevil; El Kabeir; International Star; Khozan; Ocho Ocho Ocho.