PREAKNESS DOINGS: THE FACTOR OUT, 3 OTHERS IN
Trainer Bob Baffert liked what he saw in a breeze from The Factor on Tuesday, but the Grade 2 winner is not being considered for the Preakness Stakes (G1).
Baffert wanted to see how The Factor was doing and he was pleased with the five-furlong breeze in 1:00.00 under Shaun Bridgmohan on a fast track at Churchill Downs. The move was the third-fastest of the morning at the distance.
While there had been some speculation that The Factor could be pointed to the Preakness, Baffert said on Tuesday that The Factor was not being considered for the May 21 classic at Pimlico Race Course. Baffert has previously said he will be looking for races with shorter distances than the classics for The Factor.
The Factor was shipped to Louisville for a possible start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) but days before the Derby, Baffert and owners Fog City Stable and George Bolton opted not to start the War Front colt.
After finishing seventh as the 4-to-5 favorite in the Arkansas Derby (G1), The Factor underwent minor throat surgery. Baffert said based on Tuesday’s workout, The Factor has progressed well.
Another horse co-owned by Bolton, Grade 3 winner Astrology, will make his third start of the season in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.
Owned by Bolton and Stonestreet Stables, the A.P. Indy colt won the Iroquois Stakes (G3) and finished second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs last year as a two-year-old.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Astrology finished second in both of his starts this season, first in the Sunland Derby (G3) and then in the Jerome Handicap (G2) on April 23 at Belmont Park.
Stonestreet and Bolton teamed to win the Preakness in 2007 with Curlin.
"We are excited to try and win the Preakness for Stonestreet for the third time in five years,” said Scott Blasi, an assistant to Asmussen.
In other Preakness news on Tuesday, Preakness possible Santiva, who finished sixth in the Derby, will head to the track on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal has a pair of New York-based colts under consideration for the Preakness in Harlan’s Hello and Isn’t He Perfect.
Harlan’s Hello most recently finished seventh in an allowance race at Belmont on May 1 while Isn’t He Perfect finished fifth in both the Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial (G1) and Jerome (G2) Stakes and sixth in the Gotham Stakes (G3).
“Isn’t He Perfect ran in the Wood Memorial and he is the horse that really looked Uncle Mo in the eye,” Shivmangal said. “I thought the jock moved a little too early and used him up around two turns. He is a speedy horse and he can be up there. He also ran in the Gotham and we made a mistake of asking the jockey to stay too farm back.”
One horse that will not ship to Pimlico is Coolmore Lexington Stakes (G3) runner-up Prime Cut, who will head to New York for the Peter Pan Stakes (G2) on Saturday rather than the Preakness. Trainer Neil Howard cited Prime Cut’s lack of graded earnings as a factor in opting out of the Preakness.
“I don’t know if we could get in [the Preakness],” Howard said on Tuesday after his charged breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 at Churchill. “They are only expected ten [for the Peter Pan], so we can ship and know we’ll run. If he runs in one of the [Triple Crown] races, we feel the Belmont (Stakes [G1]) would be the best for him.
by Frank Angst