Comebacker Cruises Against Elders Reminding Us He's The Factor (Video)

August 30, 2011 05:32am
Not seen since falling off the Triple Crown trail after a seventh place finish in the Arkansas Derby (Grade I) in April, The Factor returned to his preferred sprinting game and the three-year-old was no match for older horses in winning the $250,000 Pat O’Brien Handicap by nearly two lengths as the 8-to-5 second choice in the short field of five.

The Factor’s typical blazing early speed with Martin Garcia in the irons was matched to their outside by 7-to-5 favorite Smiling Tiger and Joel Rosario through a first half in 44.1, however Bob Baffert’s third straight Pat O’Brien win (El Brujo last year and Zensational in 2009) was in little doubt through the stretch, as his colt stopped the clock just two ticks off the seven-furlong track record in 1:21.2.

“I was real confident he was ready, because the last couple of times I worked him I thought, ‘Whoa, I forgot how good he was,’” said Baffert. “I was concerned when I saw Smiling Tiger go after us early, but Martin didn’t move on this horse. He didn’t panic. He was nice and relaxed.”

The three-year-old son of War Front first drew national attention when he broke his maiden at Santa Anita in a scintillating track record time of 1:06.4 for six furlongs. Distance limitations were always a concern, but he did win the Rebel going a mile and a sixteenth at Oaklawn Park by over six lengths.

“I want to keep him one turn. That’s what he wants to do,” said Baffert of his colt that won for the fourth time in six starts and pushed his career earnings over $450,000. “He’s got the most beautiful stride I’ve ever seen on a horse. He barely picks his feet up.”

Baffert also campaigns Bing Crosby (Grade I) winner Euroears, a six-furlong specialist pointing for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in November. The Factor could go in the Sprint or the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Grade I) around one turn at Churchill Downs.

While he acknowledges they could hook up at some point, he’s likely to send one of his speedsters to Belmont Park in New York for the Vosburgh (Grade I) on October 1, while the other one stays home for the Ancient Title (Grade I) at Santa Anita a week later.

Sent off as the second longest shot in the field at 5-to-1, Camp Victory crossed the wire second for the fourth straight time in a graded stake. He did inherit the win in the Los Angeles Handicap (Grade II) by disqualification three starts back.

Last year’s second and third place finishers in this race finished third and fourth this year, with Crown of Thorns checking in third as the 3-to-1 third choice and Smiling Tiger fading to fourth.

Don Tito was overmatched and trailed throughout as a 26-to-1 outsider.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for much more and visit for daily selections and analysis!


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Meet Marc Doche


As a life long horse racing fan and handicapper, it’s an honor to be joining to share my knowledge and expertise on a daily basis to horse racing fans.
Since the early 1980’s when I visited Santa Anita with my grandfather as a young boy, the track has been in my blood. As soon as I turned 16, I was driving out to the track as much as possible, and with the advent of the self-service machines, was able to wager hassle free.
After graduating from UCLA in 2000, I began my career in sports media as a site manager for and a couple of years later became the Media Relations Coordinator for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League.
In the past few years, I have moved my focus to covering the Sport of Kings and have worked in the early hours to better understand morning workouts and putting the pieces of the handicapping puzzle together.
I have also used my journalistic talents to produce video coverage of stakes races in Southern California, as well as interviews with jockeys, trainers, owners and more. I look forward to providing their in-depth insight to you.

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