Dortmund is heavily favored in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby

Eric Sondheimer
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Dortmund is the heavily favored horse at Santa Anita this weekend

If you're planning to attend Saturday's $1-million Santa Anita Derby, you'll have no problem spotting Dortmund, the 3-5 morning-line favorite in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Dortmund isn't your typical chestnut colt. He's a giant at 17 hands tall and weighing 1,188 pounds.

"He's a big red bus," his Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said.

His jockey, Martin Garcia, might feel like he has the best view of Arcadia sitting in Dortmund's saddle.

"It's amazing, because he's a real, real good horse," Garcia said. "He has a lot of energy. He's been improving race by race."

The focus every year for Baffert is the Triple Crown races, and this year he has an imposing duo in his barn, Dortmund and 2-year-old champion American Pharoah.

"They're both special horses," Baffert said. "I can't believe I'm this fortunate to have two horses like this."

Dortmund, five for five in his career, will be heavily favored in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby field of six, run as the eighth race on an 11-race program. American Pharoah's final tuneup will be next weekend in the Arkansas Derby.

Baffert has another 3-year-old in the Santa Anita Derby, One Lucky Dane, 5-1 on the morning line and starting from the No. 2 post, right next to No. 1 Dortmund.

"The post positions aren't to my liking, but there's nothing I can do about it," Baffert said.

Dortmund, a son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, was purchased for $140,000 at Fasig-Tipton's 2-year-olds in training auction in Maryland last May.

"He was a nice horse, but he was big," Baffert said. "Mentally, it took him a while. He was a little dorky, but he's really putting it together."

The race that attracted lots of attention was his victory in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Dortmund lost the lead to Firing Line, then came back in the stretch to win by a head.

"Sort of the lights went on," Baffert said.

Among Dortmund's main challengers could be Prospect Park, a son of Tapit who finished second to Dortmund by 1 1/4 lengths in the San Felipe Stakes on March 7.

Bolo is another horse showing potential. He finished third in the San Felipe in his first try on dirt after winning consecutive turf races. A son of Temple City, he's bred to like the distance and has Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard.

Post time for the first race on Saturday's card is noon. Five other stakes will be offered, including the $400,000 Grade I Santa Anita Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

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