THE FACTOR, called “one of the fastest 3yos on the planet,” by the Blood-Horse magazine, entered stud at Lane’s End in 2013, and we couldn’t be more bullish on the chances of one of the most exciting horses to emerge from the Danzig sire line in years. Breeders obviously felt the same way sending 135 mares to him.
Owned by George Bolton and David Shimmon’s Fog City Stable and conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, THE FACTOR was nothing short of a gray-hued blaze of fire on the track, one that continually performed at the highest level. He was dual Grade 1 winner on the tough Southern California circuit, with his wins including the important G1 Malibu S. and the G1 Pat O’Brien facing elders. Boasting a further trio of Grade 2 wins, he finished first or second in eight of his 13 starts, and earned just shy of $1 million. He set a new six-furlong track record at Santa Anita in a jaw-dropping 1:06.98…as a 2yo. The 108 Beyer he earned on that occasion was one of eight triple-digit Beyers he’d post. THE FACTOR’s quartet of wins at seven furlongs came in gaudy times of 1:19 4/5, 1:20 1/5, 1:20 2/5, and 1:21 2/5, but he was talented and classy enough to win Oaklawn’s 1 1/16-mile G2 Rebel S. in 1:42.19, the second fastest time in nearly a quarter century.
THE FACTOR is the sort of unique specimen that harkens back to horses like Mr. Prospector and Danzig: horses with such innate talent and speed that their offspring seem destined to share in that dominant genetic prepotency.
BRILLIANT FROM THE START…
A $250,000 acquisition at the Barretts May Sale and named after the popular Bill O’Reilly show, THE FACTOR showed early on that he was a special horse. He broke his maiden as a juvenile at Santa Anita in December of 2010 in dazzling style, winning off by 8 1/4 lengths. His final time was 1:06.98, the fastest six-furlong clocking ever recorded in 77 years at the historic track.
Put right into stakes company in his sophomore bow, THE FACTOR registered another eye-catching effort in Santa Anita’s seven-furlong G2 San Vicente S. He ripped through a half in :43 2/5 and three quarters in 1:07 1/5, and kept on motoring to win in 1:20.34. “I don’t think any horse can keep up with him, as fast as he went,” jockey Martin Garcia said. Baffert was effusive in his praise for the young colt. “It’s hard to get a horse like this,” he said. “They don’t come around very often.”
Stretched further for the 8 1/2-furlong Rebel S., he put up one of the finest efforts of his career, easily beating a field that included present or future Grade1 winners Caleb’s Posse, Archarcharch, and J P’s Gusto.
“Add THE FACTOR to this year’s list of serious contenders on the Triple Crown trail,” said The Blood-Horse’s Jack Shinar. “The brilliant colt, trained in Southern California by Bob Baffert, proved his ability to get a route of ground with a crushing win in the $300,000 Rebel Stakes. Ridden by Martin Garcia, the favored (7-5) son of War Front turned in an electrifying front-running effort in the 1 1/16 mile Rebel, drawing away from a deep field of 3-year-olds to win by 6 1/4 lengths.”
A minor injury ultimately ruled out a Triple Crown run, and after giving him a brief respite, connections returned THE FACTOR to sprinting that summer. In his first start in over 4 1/2 months, he was again asked to tackle a deep field in the six-furlong G1 Pat O’Brien S., one that included Grade 1 winner and the previous year’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up Smiling Tiger, as well as eventual Grade 1 winner Camp Victory and another BC Sprint runner-up in Crown of Thorns. In an effort that staked his claim as the best 3yo in the nation at 1 1/16 miles or less, he ran that esteemed competition into the ground.
“THE FACTOR…outfought crack sprinter Smiling Tiger in a speed duel and drew off in the stretch to win the $250,000 Pat O’Brien S. comfortably at Del Mar Aug. 28,” wrote Shinar. “The gray/roan son of War Front, facing older horses for the first time, affirmed his status as one of the fastest horses in the country. He completed the seven-furlong test in 1:21.56, slightly off Del Mar’s Polytrack mark of 1:21.17 established by Lewis Michael in the 2008 Pat O’Brien.”
THE FACTOR was just the fourth 3yo to win the Pat O’Brien in the race’s 26-year history.
Said Baffert, “When this horse is really on his game, he is an extraordinary horse. I’m just glad to have him back. He has got the most beautiful stride I’ve ever seen on a horse. It’s like he barely picks up his feet.”
THE FACTOR’s 3yo season ended as it began: with another hugely impressive win at Santa Anita. Backed as the favorite in the G1 Malibu S. over seven furlongs, THE FACTOR left little doubt as to the talent he possessed.
Wrote Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman about the Malibu, “THE FACTOR…reached back with one of his best efforts, romping to a 3 1/2-length victory in the Grade 1, $300,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds while blistering seven furlongs on dirt in 1:19.89, just .19 off the track record set by TWIRLING CANDY last year’s Malibu.”
The Malibu has been an important “sire-making” race, especially for Lane’s End. In addition to TWIRLING CANDY, winners include our past and present roster stars ROCK HARD TEN, DIXIE UNION and PLEASANT TAP, with other luminaries to have won the race including Spectacular Bid, Damascus and Buckpasser.
Kept in training at four, THE FACTOR kept up the stellar work. His win in the G2 San Carlos S.–where he sped seven panels in 1:20.56–came at the expense of a field that included champion sprinter Amazombie, and he found only that rival too strong when second in the G1 Bing Crosby S. THE FACTOR also ran second in the G1 Triple Bend H.
“He’s always been brilliant since Day One,” Baffert said of THE FACTOR. “He’s there with Midnight Lute [a champion and two-time Breeders' Cup Sprint winner] and those kind of horses.”
While many consider milers to make the best sire prospects, a close look at the Leading Sire List suggests that proven ability at a close cousin to that tricky distance–seven furlongs–is just as potent an indicator for stallion success. In fact, as of September, 2012, no fewer than five of the top nine sires in the nation sported graded stakes wins at seven furlongs, including our own CITY ZIP (G1), as well as Distorted Humor (G2), Giant’s Causeway (G3), Speightstown (G2), and Lion Heart (G3). The leading second-crop sire, meanwhile, was Hard Spun, winner of the seven-furlong King’s Bishop, a race that another perennial sire leader, Tale of the Cat, also won.
Interestingly, THE FACTOR sports close genetic ties to both Distorted Humor and Hard Spun, will all three being produced on a Danzig/Raise a Native cross (Distorted Humor is by Forty Niner, out of a Danzig mare, while Hard Spun is by Danzig, out of a Turkoman mare).
Of course, THE FACTOR also bears many similarities to his own outstanding young sire, War Front, a rocket ship of a horse whose wins included the six-furlong G2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeders’ Cup S. and who ran second in the G1 Vosburgh S. over six furlongs and the G1 Forego H. and G2 Tom Fool H. over seven furlongs.
Now emerging as the best American sire son of the great Danzig, War Front is already the sire of 14 stakes winners, the best of whom undoubtedly is THE FACTOR. War Front is also the sire of the Grade 1 winners Summer Soirée and Data Link, and of stakes winners like State of Play (G2), Soldat (G2), Summer Front (G3), Warning Flag (G3), etc.
Importantly for American breeders, THE FACTOR is one of only two graded winners for War Front on dirt, and is War Front’s lone Grade 1 winner on dirt or synthetic.
THE FACTOR also has the female family to produce top runners on the main track. He was produced by Miswaki mare Greyciousness, a daughter of the tough, durable, stakes-winning Skatingonthinice, whose other produce includes the Seattle Slew colt Chief Seattle, who ran second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and G1 Champagne S.
CARRYING THE DANZIG TORCH…
With sires like War Front and Hard Spun rocketing up the sire lists, it can fairly be said that the Danzig sire line has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. And at an introductory fee of just $15,000, THE FACTOR represents one of the most promising, exciting and affordable representatives of that sire line to head to stud in recent memory. “THE FACTOR showed brilliant speed and exceptional scope and quality in his three seasons on the racetrack and Lane’s End is very pleased to stand this stunning horse whose pedigree will be of great interest to breeders,” said Lane’s End’s Will Farish.