Two-time graded stakes winner The Factor, sidelined since May with an ankle injury, returned with his first breeze July 26 at Del Mar.
The brilliantly fast son of War Front went an easy four furlongs in :49 for trainer Bob Baffert, his first official work since May 10. The Factor was diagnosed with a slight hairline fracture of his hind ankle shortly after finishing seventh as the odds-on favorite in the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. I).
“He’s been in training for about a month; we just took it easy with him and gave him extra time,” Baffert said of the 3-year-old colt. “He went nice, just cruised around there. It’s good to have him back.”
Baffert is trying to have The Factor ready for the Aug. 27 Foxwoods King’s Bishop (gr. I) at Saratoga, where he could potentially meet 2010 juvenile champion Uncle Mo, who is also possible for the race after recently returning from a liver disorder. Everything would need to go right for both horses to make it in time for the King’s Bishop, but if it came together it would be one of the marquee matchups in racing this summer.
“We’re trying to get there, but it’s going to be tight,” Baffert said. “He’ll let us know if he’s ready. It would be a very exciting race.”
The Factor, owned by Fog City Stable and George Bolton, set a six-furlong track record at Santa Anita when breaking his maiden Dec. 26 and followed up with decisive victories in the San Vicente (gr. II) and the Rebel (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. Though not ideally suited for classic distances, the gray/roan colt’s electric speed made him an intriguing Triple Crown contender before he faltered in the Arkansas Derby and was subsequently injured.