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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Speed to The Factor of 10 (Furlongs)

Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 25

The Factor has arrived in Arkansas, and yes that is big news to ardent fans of the Kentucky Derby such as me. Now clearly one of the primary favorites for the 2011 edition of the big race, the powerful grey colt made the cross-country trek from Southern California attached to the good news of a strong final workout back at his home in Southern California. The six furlong move was timed in 1:12 1/5 over a fast Santa Anita strip, and left a silver-haired onlooker quite pleased. That of course being three-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert. The Hall of Fame conditioner was fresh off a sixth win in the prestigious Santa Anita Derby on Saturday with the lightly raced Midnight Interlude.

A strong hand in the Kentucky Derby is nothing new for Baffert, who has twice before brought a trio of horses to the run for the roses. This year he hopes to repeat that number with Jaycito (headed to the Lexington Stakes next), Midnight Interlude, and the #2 ranked horse on HRN's 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders, The Factor. Make no mistake, of the three; The Factor is the one who will grab the most headlines, and rightly so.

The Fog City Stable and George Bolton owned flash has been super impressive since his debut. He scorched the earth in a six furlong maiden. He wired strong foes in the San Vicente. Now he's back in Arkansas, and readying for another run over the Oaklawn Park strip. When last seen, The Factor caught the attention of everyone with a dynamic wire-to-wire score in the Rebel Stakes. The win was further proof of his great talent, but more importantly it demonstrated an ability to dominate good horses around two-turns. The 6 ½-length runaway on March 19 left many fans believing that he has the right stuff to repeat the effort on May 7.


Regular readers of this column know that I remain skeptical whether the speedy son of first-crop sire War Front will be able to ration his speed over the demanding Kentucky Derby trip, but the fact remains that I am always thrilled to see a truly talented horse doing what they do best, and I would be a fool not to recognize the sizeable talent of The Factor. But back to my skeptical side again for a moment … super talent or not, things will only get tougher from here.

The Arkansas Derby may prove to be the strongest prep on the 2011 Kentucky Derby trail. At the time of the writing of this column, there were 13 horses listed as probable for the 1 1/8 mile race, and most of them are good enough to be considered potential winners. In fact horses like Sway Away, Elite Alex, Nehro, J P's Gusto, Alternation, Archarcharch, Brethren, Dance City, Caleb's Posse are all just one good performance away from heading to Louisville as a serious threat to be wearing the roses. Yet, they all could be running for second money on Saturday if lightning strikes once again.

If The Factor can reduce the Arkansas Derby into a one-horse show, just like he did in the Rebel, then he deserves to become the Kentucky Derby favorite, and I will move one step further in becoming a full-fledged Factor believer. Can he last ten furlongs? I would not put it past him.


 

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Older Comments about Speed to The Factor of 10 (Furlongs)...

Well I agree with what you have to say gettyde, a lot of people want a great horse to come about. I wanted that to for a while to, but I think Zenyatta filled that desperateness for me. I know a lot of people say that she was a good mare, but not the best. but what she did for racing and what not, to me that shows a superhorse, and I do think she ranks up with there with the best mares, and best of all, thats what my gut tells me, so anyone who wants to get mad at me for what makes horse racing, keep it to yourselves...( with all do respect) . Like you said Speed figures don't lie, and there's not a star studded field lining up for the derby, but it's not lackluster. If you count in the whole crop of three year olds, you'll find a lot of very nice horses that have bright futures.
Everyone wants The Factor to do well cause everyone is desperate for another great horse to emerge. The problem is that this group looks pretty darn lackluster. Speed figures don't lie. The rest of these horses just aren't running that fast. Watch out for Sway Away; he's a horse that has natural speed and the breeding to take all the way. How bad would you want to run if you had you tooth snapped off?
Let's see what the blinkers do for Elite Alex. Up to now he seems to find a way to just tease you
Watch out for Elite Alex!!!
This is an interesting race. The Factor will have connections rooting for him in Dialed In. They love to see his speed in the Derby to provide the necessary pace. In the other hand I think Uncle Mo's chances go down further if The Factor makes it Derby day. With that I have a funny feeling The Factor will have company early on from none other Dance City, a Pletcher trainee. I'm expecting him to press The Factor early on and setting this race up for someone to pick up the pieces. I feel someone like Sway Away to bounce back or even Alternation.
It's always good to lower expectation on your own horse as Mr. Bolton rightfully did. I adhered to that principle when racing horses in Asia. You look like a genius after a "susprising" win. Boy, oh boy, that 26-1 and 32-1 odds in Pool 1 and 2, respectively in the futures, look juicier and juicier each passing day...
Emblem all over again?
Garcia will give him a "breather " .One thing for sure Bob Baffert has put him in a rigorous training regimen ,, unlike some of the overwhich he had responded to with aplomb. Am I envisioning Winning Colors or War
I firmly believe that The Factor can carry his brilliant speed longer than many obsrvers give him credit for. From this "handicrapper's " perspective, he will shoot out of the gate straight like a cannon ball and keep going to the top of the stretch undeterred by Fletcher's so called rabbit or sacrificial lamb, if you will. Saratoga Red tried to go with him in the Rebel and faded to 4th. Martin
I would tend to want to get the answer to Brian’s question that is addressed toward ICYhotboo, nothing about the horse says he’ll rate, not his races, not his workouts and certainly not his trainer. Bob says he’s a runaway train and he’ll be that 1 dimensional speedball throughout his whole career. So for someone to say he can rate and 100% disagree with the trainer of the horse tells you a few things. If you think for a minute that Todd Pletcher is not going to send his rabbit to the Arkansas Derby to apply pressure to the factor that first ½ mile you are sadly mistaken. The whole world knows this, and Baffert has been very objective with regards to the horse, Bolton said they bought him as a prospect to be a miler, the fact that he stretched out a bit in the Rebel is good for the horse, but 9f routing is a different story with pace pressure up front. I hope he runs big as I enjoy Baffert, but in listening to them about his 6f work when he shut down after the wire, that does not instill confidence. But we shall see.
The Factor has raw talent and ability, something lacking in many of the contenders this year. His biggest challenge is that raw talent and ability is all used early, and quickly... then it's a matter of how long. I did like how he re-broke in the Rebel a bit, but it'll be hard to do all of this in the Derby.
Another thing, I do not think this horse will rate behind horses. I do think he will rate on the lead, infact, I believe the Rebel showed us he can. If he is allowed to do that here I think he will be tough to run down, and honestly if he wins it impressively I think he'll continue to be able to stretch his speed out.
While I'm still skeptical about this horse, I am now mainly because he is such a speed freak rather than his breeding. If you look farther back you'll see two Triple crown winners, horses like Bold Ruler, Round Table, Dr. Fager, and many other. Dr. Fager and Bold Ruler were know for speed, but also their ability to carry that speed. Dr. Fager is arguabley, one of the fastest, if not the fastest TB in American history. The Factor is also related to Icecapade, who is a half brother to Ruffian. So while this colt's pedigree is loaded with speed, it is also has horses that could carry their speed and were know for that specifically.
sorry, should have been shows not hows
I think his last work hows that he is learning to relax. They don't have to train him for speed, as he has all the speed in the world. Getting him to relax while cruising at the speed he does is the key for me.
How do you know he can rate?
Maybe The Factor is the horse we should have been looking at for a triple.This horse can rate and I don't think the distance will be a problem.There really insn't a lot of competition out there as I see it
ow can anyone not admire The Factor? He's an amazing speed ball that has proven his talent in every race. I'd be as shocked as I was with the Wood if The Factor doesn't pull this out. Sway Away ia an interest, but I'm not familiar with sway backed horses running...???...that said, I really like to see Brethern step up with JPs Gusto and Elite Alex. The way these races are going, it might be a horse off radar winning.
swayaway would be a major threat with all the speed. i can't wait to see him come fighting back.
The Factor looks legit to me and I wouldn't be surprised to see him able to carry his speed so long as he doesn't set suicidal fractions on the front end. The Arkansas Derby should be a very interesting race to watch if the full field runs. I'm most intrigued by Brethren and Sway Away. If either one bounces back with a big performance they'll be a Derby threat for sure.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. 

Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also consults for Derby Wars, is on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.  

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