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A great bull of a colt, Dortmund (by Big Brown) showed courage and determination beyond his years or experience to win the Grade 3 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. Dortmund led coming into the turn, but Firing Line (Line of David) took the lead coming into the stretch and led by as much as a length. Then, Dortmund dug in and won the race on sheer grit, winning by a head and getting the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.20.

A big and striking colt with a rich chestnut coat, Dortmund is unbeaten in four starts. After winning his maiden and an allowance in November, Dortmund ended his juvenile season with a narrow victory in the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity last year, and the Lewis was the colt’s 3-year-old début.

Bred in Kentucky by Emilie Fojan, Dortmund was bought back for $85,000 as a weanling at the 2012 Keeneland November sale, and then he sold for $90,000 as a yearling at 2013 Fasig-Tipton July. Afterward, the big colt went to Florida for his early training, and he was consigned to the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic auction of 2-year-olds in training in Maryland last May.

Brought to sale by the Breaking Point Farm of trainer Jim Chapman, Dortmund sold for $140,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s auction at Timonium. The well-known bloodstock agent Donato Lanni signed the ticket for the grand-looking colt, who races for Kaleem Shah and is trained by Bob Baffert.

In his breeze for the sale at Timonium, Dortmund ripped a furlong in :10 1/5, which was quick, although some of the sale works went even faster. Not many were as impressive, however.

The colt showed a quickness that belied his size, and he stretched out with enthusiasm down the stretch. His work was a combination of power and exuberance, which translated into some impressive statistics for those of us who watch the juvenile sales workers with interest.

The BreezeFig makers at DataTrack International computed that Dortmund ran with an average speed of 45 miles per hour for his work, and he did it with a stride of more than 26 feet. That was more than three feet longer than the average stride at the sale, and Dortmund was one of the longest-striding horses of the entire juvenile sales season. After transferring to California and coming through his further training with Bob Baffert, Dortmund became a G1 winner by the end of the year and is now widely considered a hot prospect for the classics.

The colt was as impressive back at the barn as he had been on the track at Timonium. Tall and leggy, Dortmund showed scope allied with plenty of muscle for a young prospect. He stood over a lot of ground and walked smoothly and with a powerful extension of his hindleg.

The only knock on Dortmund was size, and some sales inspectors thought he was too big. In fact, Dortmund was so big and powerful that some observers and buyers had reservations about his prospects for a lengthy career and continued soundness. It is, therefore, a credit to the trainer and to the horse’s constitution that Dortmund has progressed so positively through his training and racing to be in a position to challenge for supremacy among the West Coast 3-year-olds.

Dortmund’s fierce challenger in both the Lewis and in the Los Al Futurity has been Firing Line, a hardy bay colt who also came out of the sales of juveniles in training. A winner of a maiden from four races, Firing Line doesn’t sound as impressive on raw career stats, but his last two races have resulted in narrow seconds to Dortmund.

At the in-training sales last year, Firing Line went to auction a month before Dortmund and sold at the Keeneland sale of juveniles in early April. Consigned by Eddie Woods Sales, the neatly made colt worked a quarter-mile in :20 1/5, which was one of the fastest of the day, and Firing Line worked with a stride length of about 24 ½ feet. That’s a really good work time and stride length, but those numbers also indicate just how uncommon the stats associated with Dortmund are.

Ben McElroy purchased Firing Line as agent, and the colt races for Arnold Zetcher, who paid $240,000 for the multiple graded stakes-placed colt.

Both colts are highly talented athletes who are active advertisements for the in-training programs that launch so many contemporary young racehorses. Dortmund and Firing Line emphasized their quality and dominance of the Lewis field by drawing away from their competition by 21 ½ lengths at the finish.

*The preceding post was first published earlier this week at Paulick Report.

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