Saturday's Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on grass will mark at least two firsts: The first time Dortmund runs on turf and the first time the 5-year-old son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown runs in a stakes for owner Kaleem Shah under his new trainer Art Sherman.
Dortmund, a winner of five of seven starts on Santa Anita's main track, including the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in 2015, has not raced since finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile here on Nov. 4, but even though the Kilroe attracted six graded stakes winners on turf, Sherman opted to go there rather than run seven furlongs on dirt in the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes, for which Dortmund was also nominated.
Overall, Dortmund has eight wins from 14 career starts, with earnings just under $2 million.
“He left Los Alamitos on Wednesday for Santa Anita, where he'll school for a couple days,” Sherman said. “If you really think about it, seven eighths is probably one of the toughest distances on a horse. You've got to run every inch of the way.
“It's just a hard, hard race to recover from, and Dortmund has some grass breeding and it's an opportune time to try him on the grass. You don't have to win, but if he runs a good race, it gives me another option.”
Sherman, who along with Doug O'Neill, picked up several horses that had been previously trained by Bob Baffert for Shah in December, allowed that he likes the position he's in.
“I run a horse for Kaleem for the first time Friday (Besides the Point, in the seventh race), but the Kilroe will be the first time I've run in a stakes for him. I also have Klimt (a winner of the Grade I Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5), but he won't be ready until Del Mar this summer.
“Kaleem is very nice. I don't know what happened (between him and Baffert). I don't get into any of that. I was just happy to get the horses.”
As for two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, now at stud in Kentucky, Sherman says the California-bred son of the late Lucky Pulpit is enjoying life.
“He's really strong right now. He's being bred to 130 mares, so he better be strong!”
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