The Factor worked a sizzling seven furlongs in 1:22 1/5 Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park, and afterward trainer Bob Baffert said he intends to give him first preference in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) when pre-entries are officially announced Oct. 26.
Baffert will also pre-enter The Factor in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I), but he also has top contender Euroears for that race. That could be one reason he is leaning toward the Mile for The Factor as both horses like to race on the front end.
“His work was great, phenomenal,” Baffert said. “I have until Monday to decide though, so I’ll make the decision then.”
Owned by Fog City Stable and George Bolton, The Factor has had two quick works since finishing a disappointing fourth as the 2-5 favorite in the Oct. 8 Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I) at six furlongs. In his seven-start career, the 3-year-old son of War Front has run at five different distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, but has never tried a one-mile race. His biggest victory came in the seven-furlong Pat O’Brien Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 28 at Del Mar.
Baffert also had a trio of other Breeders’ Cup contenders work Tuesday morning, including Zayat Stables’ Prayer for Relief. The 3-year-old son of Jump Start blitzed four furlongs in :46 3/5, good enough to warrant a trip to Churchill Downs.
Baffert is leaning toward the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), but he may also pre-enter the colt in the Dirt Mile.
“He deserves a shot,” Baffert said. “The trip in the Oklahoma Derby (third) wasn’t ideal but he also didn’t have to run too hard, so it might have worked out for him for his next race.”
Prayer for Relief had a four-race win streak snapped in the Oct. 16 Oklahoma Derby, which was his only defeat this year.
Baffert was very pleased with the work by Grey Goose Juvenile (gr. I) contender Drill, but not so much for Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) contender Candrea.
Drill, who won the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) and was runner-up to Creative Cause in the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) last out, clocked seven furlongs in 1:24. Candrea, runner-up in the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 2, went six furlongs in 1:11 3/5. Both 2-year-olds are owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman.
“The problem with Candrea is that I worked her in company and she might have been overmatched a bit by her work partner,” Baffert said. “It was just OK, but she has never been a great work horse.
“Drill’s work was very good. I worked him with blinkers off and he’s doing great right now. I was disappointed in his race last time. The way he was ridden was questionable I thought, but (Martin Garcia) understands what we expect from him next time and we’ll use different tactics.
"He rode him like he was an old horse and he’s just a baby. You can’t give a Giant's Causeway (Creative Cause) a five-length lead and expect to run him down.”