Bob Baffert confirmed March 30 that he is leaning toward the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) for The Factor , but was still non-committal about what race his other Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender, Jaycito, would point toward.
After Jaycito finished a closing second in the March 12 San Felipe (gr. II), Baffert said that he was thinking about the April 9 Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct. But the Victory Gallop colt, who is based in Southern California, could stay home to go in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on the same day.
Jaycito, owned by Zayat Stables, worked four furlongs in :48 2/5 March 22 in his first work since the San Felipe.
“He might stay home, I’m not sure yet. I don’t have to make any decisions right now so I’m not going to,” Baffert said. “I know one thing: The horse needs more ground. He needs a mile and a quarter.
“I was thinking that he might like the track (at Aqueduct) better and it will probably be a shorter field, but I’m not sure. Shipping (him to New York) obviously plays into it.”
The Factor has won his last two races impressively, going wire-to-wire in the Feb. 20 San Vicente (gr. III) and scoring by more than six lengths in the March 19 Rebel (gr. II), his route debut. He would be the likely favorite in the April 16 Arkansas Derby.
Baffert also jumped into the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) picture with Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty, a 25-length winner in the March 27 Sunland Oaks. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro was trying two turns for the first time after third-place finishes in the Santa Ynez (gr. II) and Las Virgenes (gr. I) earlier this year.
“I should have run her in the Sunland Derby,” said Baffert, who instead ran Sinai in the grade III race. Sinai finished last after setting a torrid pace. “She’s definitely in the Oaks picture now.”