‘A Lot Stronger Horse’: Reinvigorated Dortmund Could Return In Awesome Again

by | 09.22.2017 | 6:15pm
Dortmund galloping at Santa Anita earlier this year

Dortmund was reportedly retired from racing in April of 2017, but the giant chestnut returned to training with Art Sherman at Los Alamitos in July. Apparently, the brief respite from the racetrack life reinvigorated the 5-year-old son of Big Brown. Sherman told bloodhorse.com that jockey Gary Stevens breezed Dortmund a mile at Los Al in 1:41 4/5 on Thursday, and returned saying the horse felt “better than he has for a long time.”

Though owner Kaleem Shah has not made a final decision, it is possible that Dortmund could return to the races as soon as the Sept. 30 Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. The contest is a “Win and You're In” for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

“He's a lot stronger horse than he was earlier this year,” Sherman said. “He needed a little break, and he got it.”

The two-time Grade 1 winning millionaire has not won a race since the G3 Native Diver in November of 2015, but Dortmund consistently placed in graded company in 2016. His two 2017 starts under Sherman's name were not as stellar, including a sixth-place finish in the G1 Kilroe Mile, his first start on the grass, and a dull fourth-place effort in the listed Santana Mile back on the dirt.

Read more at bloodhorse.com.

  • Ida Lee

    I don’t know what to think..keep going back and forth….like it …don’t like it….retired for 4 +-months…back to training…oh well….just want what’s best for the beautiful giant….love Big Brown, love Dortmund….just keep him safe…

    • dan gable

      Actually have to admit how good Californa (Tin) Chrome actually was. What he did for these connections is astounding when looked at against what they have done to Dortmund.

      • Ida Lee

        CA Chrome as we know got better and better with age….Dortmund is a stunning giant of a boy with great talent….I can’t help but think, as many do, that he’s been horribly mismanaged…if he has to come back, I hope he does well….might be his age and maturity might help him now, as well as the time off ….

        • David Sullivan

          I’m not sure I would agree that California Chrome got better with age but thats a discussion for a different time. I think Mr Gable’s point is that it’s a credit to the natural talent of California Chrome that he accomplished so much. Based on their dismal race record outside of him it’s easy to believe that the connections didn’t help him much.

          • Ida Lee

            I agree David….Chrome’s accomplishments were all him and I agree that his success was in spite of his connections although Mr. Sherman tried his best having to deal with those less-than-reasonable owners…talking of Chrome, if you have not had a chance to go visit him at Taylor Made, you really are missing a special treat….he’s beautiful, charming, sweet and give him a cookie, and he’s all yours….just adorable….

          • Always Curious

            I credit Art and son for keeping Chrome in racing form for sooo long. He had no control over England. Chrome was an incredible athlete. Maybe the Sherman’s win rate at the track is more in line with non-cheating trainers. Also the quality of the horses you get really does make a difference. Ask Lucas & other old trainers. Seeing Chrome is on my bucket list!

          • Minneola

            Love your post!! And, I totally, agree with all of it.

          • Bella

            Totally agree also. Chrome’s athleticism and vibrant attitude were enhanced by Art and Alan allowing him to be who he was …a horse that loved to run, to show off. His intelligence and soundness is still being proven in all the videos and photos of his adaptation to his surroundings in Chile….and they love him there too.

          • Minneola

            I’ve been going to the websites in Chile to see how Chrome is doing. Unfortunately, many of the reports were in Spanish and I was realllly horrible in that language when in school. But, from the photos, it looks like Chrome is doing well there and a bit of a sensation with the locals. By the way, there was a travel show on television a few weeks back on Chile and I was very surprised — delightfully so — on its gorgeous coastline, rugged snow-capped mountains perfect for skiers, and rather cosmopolitan cities. Still, looking forward to Chrome returning in another couple of months.

          • Bob Jones

            You’ve really never heard of Google Translate?

          • Minneola

            No, I haven’t probably because I rarely go to foreign websites especially since I really don’t have a need to for most information related to racing. I’ll check it out, though. Thanks.

          • Tango F

            Chrome would have been lost in the larger corporate barns; they never would have been as patient as Sherman was, in running in Cal Bred stakes. Dortmund obviously, with his subpar performance in the BCDM, was squeezed more than a little dry by the end of 2016. You cannot blame Sherman for that

          • David Sullivan

            I don’t blame Mr Sherman for anything. I’m just saying that facts are facts and outside of California Chrome he hasn’t had much success as a trainer in a very long career. .

          • Tango F

            You have to get the horses. When he got a good one, he was an exceptional trainer.

          • D2elC

            Two very humble and thoughtful points. I agree.

          • Meg Hiers

            First, if you don’t think California improved with age, I am not sure I trust many of your other opinions, but I would also put out there a career 17% win record and 46% ITM percentage seems far from dismal to me. `

          • David Sullivan

            Chrome improved due to the retirement of Bayern and untimely death of Shared Belief.

          • Ida Lee

            Taking nothing away from Bayern or our precious Shared Belief….it’s really an unnecessary dis of a great Champion who gave so much to the sport and a trainer who waited his whole life for a horse like him….it’s not very sportsmanlike to elevate others at the expense of someone else…especially when it’s not deserved in any way, shape or form …

          • Minneola

            So, how much did you lose at the tracks because Chrome beat your bets?

          • Judoon

            Meh, he never developed any significant horses until a few years ago, and that was just one. Ever.

        • duey_wag

          As a musician, I transfer the sentiments of Salieri (when comparing himself to Mozart) to how Dortmund must feel…”I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am the patron’s saint. Mediocrities everywhere… I absolve you.” He always tries so hard but just doesn’t manage to come out on top.
          There are 2 horses I always bet on, regardless of whether I think they will win or not. Dortie is one of them. I lose money nearly every time, but I feel like I want them to know someone believes in them! lol

          • Ida Lee

            Dortmund’s daddy Big Brown got all kinds of bad press and put downs because of his connections…every criticism was a knife to my heart since I just adored him…still do….his boy Dortmund also hurt to watch….him trying so hard and so close to that win although he did do well….but like Salieri, Dortmund is certainly not a mediocrity….he’s quite talented and if he’s coming back, I hope he does well….BTW I don’t blame Salieri for his attitude….he was a great talent and except for Mozart, he probably would have been the best of his time…. you know, like Sham and Secretariat…..it’s gotta hurt ….

          • Minneola

            Yeah. I will place a few dollars on him for two reasons: 1) Perhaps, he will win, and 2) I don’t want his odds to be any longer than absolutely necessary. A couple of the reasons that some of us placed wagers on Patch as well. Which is your number two horse? Please don’t leave us hanging….

          • duey_wag

            My other horse is Ice Cream Truck, a low level claimer I’ve followed since 2013. Just a sentimental favorite from my first couple years of wagering. I’m a relatively new, late in life race fan who only placed show bets and was happy to just break even. The day of his first win was the first Win ticket I ever played. A big $3.60 payoff! Anyhow, he’s sort of disappeared since his last claim and my only hope is that he has been given a second career.

          • Minneola

            Oh, that is great! Nice to see someone else that has followed a horse that few have ever heard of. My first one was Swiss Nights and the second was Slightly Gamey. I thought the world of both of them and, even, tried to acquire them after their racing days seemed to end. But, I found that one was given to a friend of the owner and is living on ranch in Utah. The other one was claimed and the second trainer would not reply to my inquiries. That horse got claimed again and ended up in Idaho and racing at Les Bois. Who knows what happened to that filly? But, those two horses meant every bit as much to me as some of the horses that win the big races and are Eclipse award winners. Both horses made me some money but, with it, a little bit of guilt by not really being assured that they are okay and living a good life. I wouldn’t want to profit from that, otherwise. I can definitely empathize with your feelings about Ice Cream Truck! Thanks!!

          • Michael Castellano

            Last race was in April of this year, assuming that Horse Racing Nation records are up to date. He only made a handful of starts (3) since since 2015. His breeding goes back to Pleasant Colony and Affirmed. And Marquetry on the dam side.

          • duey_wag

            Michael, did you mean to reply to me or to Minneola? Those don’t match up with Ice Cream Truck’s records.

          • Tango F

            The perspective of what makes a horse “mediocre” is laughable. I would take a “mediocre” Grade 1 winner ANY day, duey ….

          • Minneola

            In my opinion, what made him “mediocre” was the mediocrity of his past trainer who, repeatedly, kept putting Dortmund in the wrong races. What took the owner so long in figuring out that Dortmund was nothing but a pawn in that trainer’s barn?!

          • Tango F

            You mean Dortmund …

          • Minneola

            Yes. Thank you for noticing that. I’ll correct it immediately!

          • David Juffet

            I’m surprised he survived Baffert.

          • duey_wag

            Tango, I think maybe you misinterpreted my meaning, or maybe I’m misinterpreting your comment. I am by no means calling Dortmund mediocre. Quite the opposite. I am figuratively transferring human feeling as though from HIS perspective…like people do about themselves. Salieri, as Ida pointed out, was not mediocre at all. He only saw himself that way next to Mozart. I know horses don’t have those same feelings. It was more how I would feel if I were in Dortmund’s shoes.
            My post was by no means meant to be a judgment on the horse! :)

          • Tango F

            “…Mediocrities everywhere… I absolve you.” He always tries so hard but just doesn’t manage to come out on top….”

          • duey_wag

            I guess I’m missing your point. I mean no disrespect. It was an “artistic” expression and nothing more. I am not qualified to debate the quality of a horse. I like Dortmund and always hope he will win. I tend to project human emotions on to all animals, and evidently this is a case where you and I are not of like mind. Peace.

        • D2elC

          Great points. I just wish they would start Dortmund in G 3s to get him used to winning with ease.

      • Tango F

        Actually, there was nothing “tin” about California Chrome and Art was more than capable when offered a really good horse; he managed him well. Dortmund was not well placed in the latter part of 2016

      • Minneola

        Lost some $$$$ by betting against Chrome? Time to get over it. He’s “sterling” compared to your snarky comment.

      • billy

        More like what he did for racing, you can say what you will dan but California chrome was one hell of a horse….shows me how much the monitary value of breeding means nothing….no horse is born as a racehorse

        • Minneola

          How many owners tried to reconcile the hundreds of thousands of dollars (or much more) spent on purchasing a horse that never amounted to much more than a grade 3? Yet, along came this $10,500 Cal-bred (and home-bred) by two rather novice owners. Hollywood would have had a hard time in coming up with a better script and some would have said that it was pure fiction, especially, when they added in a trainer approaching his 80s and a jockey that had seen better days. And, yes, if it is so easy to breed a race horse, then, wouldn’t we have had more professional human athletes providing us more of their offspring to carry on mom or dad’s athletic abilities? Wouldn’t there be a magical formula for breeding successful race horses? Of course, there will be some who will cite examples of such horses (Tapit’s kids, for example) but what percentage achieve that? How many horses that did not amount to much? Odd…We never hear about them, do we?

      • D2elC

        Especially at an initial price of $10,500 (Chrome).

    • D2elC

      Agreed.

  • Michael Castellano

    He might have been not fully developed enough to withstand the TC grind, and may have faded because of it. Many horses will peak at 5 – 6, maybe he is one of them. The Hall of Fame trainer of Dr. Fager, John Nerud, once said that his missing of the TC races was the best thing that ever happened to Dr. Fager.

    • billy

      Due to his size I think you might be on to something there

    • Tango F

      Not to mention that running him at a mile and a quarter after a colic couldn’t have helped his chances of succeeding

    • SteveD

      He was too big for that to not have been a factor…but it’s hard to figure out what’s going on with a horse that runs his guts out every time ;)

  • George Chimento

    Firing Line did it to him on Kentucky Derby day. Neither Dortmund nor Firing Line were ever the same. And both of them were better than American Pharoah on May 2, 2015. They just beat each other to a pulp and AP inherited the win. I would love to see Dortmund come back, but that is a lot to hope for.

    • David Sullivan

      You are entitled to your opinion. In my opinion Dortmund and Firing Line ran gallant races that day but no way either of them was going to beat AP. Not on that day nor any other day.

      • Tango F

        AP had to be “encouraged” 32 times that day … it wasn’t a pretty win & he was lucky to get it.

  • dennis mcgarry

    Go ahead and run him, as far as I am concerned from a wagering standpoint, he is a bet against. From the standpoint of what is best for the horse, they should not put him back in training, the connections are just being foolish.

  • Consultant

    As we look back in time, Race Horses, raced for much longer careers, than they do in recent times. With those thoughts, we also must take a look at the time off these horses received, quite a few of them, actually trained at Farms, only coming to the Race Track for a Race.

    I believe, if this great horse, wants to run, he will, if not, by all means, Retire him . … .

  • Manefan

    Good morning, Dortmand. That’s the phrase I think of with regard to the big D. He’s still young, he’s huge, he’s strong. If he has any positive memories of racing, I hope that with every new day, it gets magnified. Maybe his early training and racing was too much, too soon. I don’t know if training is damaging but, if he’s healthy, it’s must be better than sitting in a stall. I’ll always hope for Dortmand to come back, enjoy his run and win.

  • billy

    Gary Stevens and Dortmund….how can you go wrong……go show em

  • Bella

    Time is perhaps what he needed along with growing into himself a little more. I have faith in the Shermans to find the answer, as well as believe that is what they have been trying to do for Dortmund. He is such a neat horse and deserves another chance with people who believe in him.

  • Bella

    Thank you for yours! I believe as you that anyone who expresses doubts as to the Sherman’s handling of CC, knows little about horses. I watched very closely the handling they did ( and the tolerance of interference) of Chrome the last four years and was never disappointed on how he was taken care of by them. How happy and proud of himself he was …for me that was a telling of how great they worked with him….how important that “mentally filled with joy” , as you stated, is and so ignored by so many training horses, it escapes me more people involved with horses never recognize the importance of that vital ingredient to a horses well being.

  • Delrene from Carlsbad

    Would love to see Dortmund back on top. Such a great horse and in a great barn with Team Sherman

  • ctgreyhound

    I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Nothing but a happy, healthy Dortmund is required or necessary. The Awesome Again is a tall order.

  • Kathryn R Wilt

    Dorty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rue de Jean

    Am so glad that Dortmund was sent back to Art Sherman. Smart decision! Good luck to both.

  • D2elC

    I’m pulling for Dortmund. I wish he wasn’t coming off the shelf but I’ll roll out to SA to see him on the 30th. I was going anyway to see Bolt ‘D Oro in person. Dortzilla’a odds might be right to box him with Cupid but, for the horse, I wish they would send him in after easier pickings to get him used to winning again. I agree that Chrome rose above his connections but I kinda hope Dorty helps Art out this time around so long as the big chestnut doesn’t get hurt.

    • D2elC

      Btw, the gambler in me had Chrome on top of Dortmund in the San Diego, the PC (with Beholder in a tribox) and the Awesome Again and the big fella got me paid every time. Dortmund owes me nothing.

  • SteveD

    Great news…
    Always a fan of Dortmund and thought for a long time he just needed time off.
    Now, let him win a couple and watch what that does for the heart of a champion ;)

  • Beau Geste

    You’ll know him by the confused look on his face.

  • stevie barnyard

    Dortmund showed his true quality in his undefeated run leading up to the TC. Then K.Shah and BB made him rabbit for Pharoah. Dortmund has never been the same since. It is patently clear to some of us who have been watching closely for the entire time, that Shah is simply looking for more $$ in the breeding shed, at Dortmund and the current trainer’s expense. Perhaps K. Shah is hoping to profit from insurance money in the event of a breakdown?? Hmmm. Food for thought, if anyone is interested in thinking.

  • OklaHandicapper

    I think Dortmund is a nice horse who just failed to live up to the high expectations people set for him based on his sire Big Brown. Dortie is not his daddy and to expect him to run like his daddy is ludicrous bordering on cruel.

    It’s clear to me that Dortmund doesn’t have Big Brown’s stamina. His dam Our Josephina was a pure sprinter: no stamina in her at all.

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