A $62,500 claim continued to pay dividends for Gaining Ground Racing and trainer Brad Cox as Factor This added a graded stakes to his accomplishments Feb. 15 with a frontrunning length victory in the $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes (G3T) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
A 5-year-old The Factor gelding, Factor This cruised along with a clear lead through much of the 1 1/8-mile turf stakes while posting honest early fractions of :23.57 and :48.25 and had enough left to fend off a late bid by 7-5 favorite Synchrony.
"I was more confident this time. There wasn't as much speed after some key scratches," Cox said. "I thought turning for home he'd be a tough horse, and he was. He's a pretty honest horse."
In Factor This' previous start, the Jan. 18 Colonel E. R. Bradley Stakes at Fair Grounds, he dueled for the lead through splits of :22.76 and :46.95 before finishing third behind Dontblamerocket, the 2-1 second choice Saturday.
The scenario was much different this time as Factor This received marginal early pressure from 12-1 shot Spectacular Gem and notched his eighth win in 27 starts while pushing his earnings to $545,030.
Since he was claimed Aug. 8, 2018, at Saratoga Race Course, Factor This has earned slightly more than $340,000 for his new connections, with a stakes win in the Kentucky Downs Preview Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes in August at Ellis Park.
Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan on Saturday, the 8-1 shot finished in 1:47.29 on firm turf for his first win in his past six starts.
He was bred in Kentucky by Maccabee Farm out of the Singspiel mare Capricious Miss and is the first graded stakes winner for his dam.
Pin Oak Stable's Synchrony rallied from sixth in a field of 10 to finish a clear second. The son of Tapit trained by Michael Stidham was 4 1/2 lengths ahead of Bentley Combs' Botswana, a son of Graydar who was sent off at 51-1 odds.
AJ Suited Racing Stable's Dontblamerocket was fifth.
Mrs. J. V. Shields Jr. and E. J. M. McFadden Jr.'s Classic Covey fell while racing on the backstretch and, according to trainer Bill Mott, the 6-year-old gelding had to be euthanized.