Dortmund To Debut At San Diego Handicap?

The horse racing world has eagerly anticipated the return of Dortmund and news has been fairly sparse, but there’s been recent confirmation that the four-year old colt is set to make his 2016 debut at the San Diego Handicap. Unfortunately, that means that he could be barreling straight in to a stacked field that’s topped by California Chrome. Is he up for the task?

It’s been a long and winding road for the Bob Baffert specimen who remains one of the most visually impressive thoroughbreds on the circuit. Sired by champion Big Brown out of Our Josephina, Dortmund is an impressive 8-0-1 in ten races. Undoubtedly one of the Triple Crown considerations last season, he placed third at the Kentucky Derby and fourth at the Preakness Stakes in 2015 behind American Pharoah. A long layoff through last summer led to back-to-back triumphs at the Big Bear and the Native Diver Handicap, but he’s been struggling with injuries since.

They’re not the type that send off alarm bells. He had some bruised ribs and an assortment of ailments that kept him from debuting back in January at the San Pasqual Stakes, which was won by California Chrome. It’s obvious that his connections aren’t scared of the 2014 Horse of the Year and desire a matchup against perhaps the finest older horse in the business.

The long game for Dortmund is the same as many other big names. It’s more than likely that he follows California Chrome on his road to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, via the Pacific Classic. That race is part of the challenge series with the winner earning a berth straight in to the biggest race a the world championships. With or without a win, Dortmund has the stock and reputation to earn a place in that competition simply by being nominated.

But everything depends on how this horse has recovered from a long layoff. If Dortmund is unable to race in the San Diego Handicap, throwing him against the wolves at the Pacific Classic seems like an uneasy gamble. For now all we can do is keep our finger’s crossed and hope that the powerful and talented four-year old is capable of making the trip and getting back to the track, where he belongs.

Is Nyquist ready to return to winning?

Nyquist Ready For Travers or San Diego

Is Nyquist ready for a trip back to the winner’s circle? That’s the question on everyone’s mind as the three-year old champion continues his preparations for the high-end summer stakes. He continued to breeze at Santa Anita in convincing fashion and all signs point to a long-term plan of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Where the Reddam Racing prodigy ends up in between now and then is the other question’s everyone’s begging to be answered.

“I’m going to meet with [Paul Reddam] on Wednesday, so we should know more Thursday,” O’Neill said. “You can circle a race like the Derby when you’re heading that way, but that’s not the case now. You’re at a point where you’re going to run him when he’s right.”

Slow playing Nyquist’s plans has always been the strategy, and it’s especially pertinent given what happened at the 2016 Preakness Stakes. The previously undefeated horse not only finished third after failing to properly navigate a sloppy track, he also came down with a fever that took him out of the Belmont. Whether that fever was a result of the travel schedule, the intensity of the Triple Crown or the bad conditions at Pimlico on that weekend is an unanswered question. Keeping Nyquist ready on the west coast will make his pathway to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita that much easier.

The obvious choices with Nqyuist ready remain the Travers Stakes or the San Diego Handicap.

“When you say a specific race and it doesn’t work out, there is a lot of second-guessing, so I don’t know if my stress level can handle being painted in a corner. We’ll let the horse tell us and hopefully it will be soon.”

With Nyquist ready, horse players around the world are ready to get back behind him. He has not lost our faith yet and with a trainer like O’Neill at the helm you can rest assured that he’ll be the horse to beat no matter which prep race he chooses on route to the world championships and the biggest race in North America.