Earlier this year The Factor was considered a possibly contender for the Kentucky Derby–a speed horse in a three year old crop devoid of speed. After undergoing throat surgery he missed that race and won’t be entered in the May 21 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Bob Baffert, who trains The Factor, was generally pleased with his progress after a five furlong breeze at Churchill Downs earlier this week but stressed that he’s not being considered for The Preakness. The Factor’s injury issues began after a 7th place finish as a 4-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. He underwent minor throat surgery intended to improve his breathing and although he’s recovering well neither Baffert nor the horse’s owners (Fog City Stables/George Bolton) see any reason to bring him back before he’s fully recovered. He was shipped to Churchill Downs prior to the Kentucky Derby just to give his connections the option to run him but they decided against it.
It’s also very unlikely that The Factor will be pointed to the Belmont Stakes, the third leg in horse racing’s ‘Triple Crown’. Baffert has said that the most likely scenario is to run The Factor at shorter distances and given his skill set–blistering front running speed–that sure seems like the best fit.
George Bolton will have another horse in the Preakness–Grade 3 winner Astrology will make his third start of the season on May 21 at Pimlico. Astrology has taken second in both of his starts this season–the Sunland Derby and the Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park. Stonestreet Stables is co-owner of Astrology along with Bolton–the ownership team has had considerable success at the Preakness winning the race in 2007 with Curlin and in 2009 with Rachel Alexandra. Astrology is trained by Steve Assmussen and in a statement from a spokesman is looking forward to getting Stonestreet another wreath of Black Eyed Susans:
“We are excited to try and win the Preakness for Stonestreet for the third time in five years.”
Several horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby are still under consideration for the Preakness, although word is that race winner Animal Kingdom is not among them. Still under consideration are Mucho Macho Man, Shackleford, Nehro and Santiva.