Tall Dortmund will try to dunk Kentucky Derby field
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Trainer Bob Baffert compares Dortmund, one of his two Kentucky Derby contenders, to Frank Kaminsky, the 7-foot forward for national runner-up Wisconsin and AP player of the year.
Both tower over the competition.
''When he comes out of the stall, he just keeps coming out,'' Baffert said of Dortmund.
The talent is obvious. Dortmund is 6 for 6, including a 4 1/4-length victory in the Santa Anita Derby. He joins American Pharoah, last year's champion 2-year-old, as a powerful 1-2 punch in Hall of Famer Baffert's bid for a fourth Derby victory.
The focus Monday at Churchill Downs was largely on Dortmund.
The huge chestnut colt is hard to miss. Baffert said Dortmund is the tallest horse he has trained at 17 hands, the measure of a horse at the highest point on the withers. That translates to 68 inches off the ground. And it's packed onto a 1,280-pound frame.
''He's a big tall horse with his stride, and he has speed,'' Baffert said. ''He's really, really fast early. Smaller horses that try to keep up with him, they give up. He has a lot of determination and a lot of heart. He'll need that.''
A YOUNG REALIST: One of the oldest racetrack adages says ''There is no such thing as a sure thing.''
Bode Baffert, the 10-year-old son of trainer Bob, has taken that philosophy to heart.
When asked about Bayern's chances before last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, Bode Baffert said the horse would get beat. Not that he wished for it. It was his way of steeling himself for a disappointment.
Bayern came through with the victory, banishing the pessimism.
Now comes the Derby, with the Baffert barn sending out the likely favorites in American Pharoah and Dortmund.
Bode, named for Olympic champion skier Bode Miller, is still singing a realistic tune.
''We're always ready to lose,'' he said.
ALL ON HAND: Carpe Diem, the last member of trainer Todd Pletcher's Derby quartet, arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday.
The winner of the Blue Grass Stakes had remained at Keeneland following that victory.
Carpe Diem will be among the top Derby picks with a record of four wins in five starts. The lone defeat was a second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Itsaknockout, Materiality and Stanford, the other three members of Pletcher's Derby quartet, had already settled in.
''We're all good,'' Pletcher said.
LONE WORKER: Bold Conquest had a workout Monday in case he qualifies for the Derby.
The colt trained by Steve Asmussen remains on the bubble with time running out to make Saturday's race. Bold Conquest sits 22nd in the Derby point standings with the top 20 horses guaranteed a spot in the field. He needs two defections to make the starting gate.
With the Derby still a possibility, Bold Conquest ran five furlongs in 1:01.80.
''He went nice,'' Asmussen said. ''He goes over the track good.''
Bold Conquest was the only Derby contender to drill on a cool, clear morning at Churchill Downs. Most of the Derby headliners completed their final workouts last weekend.
Bold Conquest will be a long shot, if he makes the race. He is only 1 for 7 with the victory coming last August at Saratoga. The most recent effort was a fifth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby.
ALL CLEAR: The weather forecast for Derby week in Louisville is dry, with no rain expected until Sunday - the day after the race.
The race day forecast calls for sunshine with highs in the upper 70s.