The Factor , now a favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) next month, “worked great” April 10 at Santa Anita, according to trainer Bob Baffert.
Fog City Stable and George Bolton’s colt is now ready to ship back to Oaklawn Park for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) April 16, according to the racing office. The Factor's return to Oaklawn comes four weeks after he romped in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II).
Santa Anita clockers caught the 3-year-old son of War Front going six furlongs in a handy 1:12 1/5. It missed being a bullet by one tick behind three other horses who went 1:12 flat, including older stakes-winning Baffert trainees Game on Dudeand Mythical Power.
With the drill under his belt, The Factor, three-for-four in his career, is set to fly from Ontario International Airport, east of Los Angeles, to Arkansas early on the morning of April 12.
Another performance similar to his 6 ½-length win in the Rebel March 19 would solidify him as a Kentucky Derby favorite in the wake of the loss by champion Uncle Mo in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct.
Baffert, of course, picked up another Derby contender when Midnight Interlude surprised in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) a couple of hours after Uncle Mo's defeat.
The Hall of Fame trainer has won the last two Rebel Stakes, taking last year’s race with eventual Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and Eclipse champion Lookin at Lucky . Baffert has three Kentucky Derby victories and has won two legs of the Triple Crown series four times.