Speed to The Factor of 10 (Furlongs)

Speed to The Factor of 10 (Furlongs)
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
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.

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. 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, American Pharoah and Justify. 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. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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