In a major development, the freakishly fast The Factor could be coming to Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) on Sunday, March 27.
According to Bloodhorse Magazine, trainer Bob Baffert indicated that he is leaning toward running the The Factor in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) at nine furlongs. The distance would be the first 2-turn test for the swift gray/roan colt who last Sunday demolished his foes in the $150,000 San Vicente (Gr. II) at Santa Anita Park. The War Front colt earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure from his 7 furlong victory.
Baffert said, “We’re not really thinking Kentucky Derby right now, but it’s a long ways off. I talked to owner George Bolton, and as fast an exciting as he is, we have to at least try him at two turns. We’d be kicking ourselves if we didn’t. He’s a horse that has to be in front, but he can shut it down a little once he makes the lead. Maybe he can carry his speed like Smarty Jones did.”
The Factor broke the 6 furlong track record at Santa Anita in his maiden victory on Dec. 26. The performance earned a 108 Beyer figure.
Arguably, The Factor would be the fastest Thoroughbred to ever race at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.
Sway Away, runner-up to The Factor in the San Vicente, is also nominated to the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III). The first prize check is worth $400,000 in graded earnings, which virtually guarantees a spot in the gate for the Kentucky Derby.
Live racing resumes on Friday at 12:45 p.m. The $100,000 Borderland Derby sponsored by Casa Ford, a key prep for the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) is the main event on Saturday.