San Carlos Stakes: The Factor Fastest to the Wire over Amazombie

Carlos TorresContributor IFebruary 25, 2012

Bob Baffert's The Factor won the G2 $200,000 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita, winning his showdown against Breeders Cup Sprint champion Amazombie.

With this victory, Bob Baffert's winning streak goes to 15-for-16 dating back to Game On Dude's win at the San Antonio Stakes.

It was also Baffert's 13th straight and moved The Factor record at seven furlongs to a perfect 4-for-4 and 4-of-5 over Santa Anita's main track.

The Factor, owned by Fog City Stables and George Bolton, was coming into the much anticipated clash with Amazombie off a win at the seven-furlong G1 Malibu Stakes in Dec. 26 of last year over this track.

For Amazombie, this was his first start since his win at the Breeders Cup Sprint last November and he finished third.

Sway Away, making his comeback after an eight-month layoff, closed strong to finish second under a strong ride by jockey Rafael Bejarano.

At the start, The Factor, with regular ride Martin Garcia, took the lead as expected and was engaged on his outside by Rothko with Joel Rosario.

Mike Smith placed Amazombie at out of harm's way on the outside in the clear just a couple of lengths behind the leaders.

Canonize ran fourth and Sway Away was last but just five lengths from The Factor.

The order remained unchanged until they approached the top of the stretch when Amazombie started to challenge The Factor, but his move was repelled and The Factor went ahead by a couple lengths.

Meanwhile, Sway Away started the stretch three lengths behind, and his mad dash to the finish in an attempt to catch The Factor fell just half-a-length short.

It was a good effort by Sway Away on his comeback race. This was almost a carbon copy of his second place finish to The Factor in the San Vicente Stakes last year at this same distance, on this very same track.

After the race was over, the stewards reviewed an inquiry on issues happened into the stretch run after the fourth-place finisher Canonize went right behind The Factor.

After five minutes, the stewards ruled that The Factor was not at fault.

The argument can be made for both Amazombie and Sway Away that the pace was not contended and that was influential on The Factor's win.

But all things considered, The Factor was the best and for the moment, he has to be considered at the top of the Sprint Division—at least on the West Coast.

The next race for this division on the west coast is the G2 Potrero Grande Stakes on April 7 at the 6.5-furlong distance.

Amazombie is the defending champion for that race, and it is very likely we will see a rematch of the top three finishers in this race.


San Carlos Stakes | Grade 2 | Purse : $200,000 | Santa Anita Park | Four-year-old and Upward| Seven Furlongs








The Factor

Martin Garcia





Sway Away

Rafael Bejarano






Mike Smith




Also ran: Canonize and Rothko.

Fractional Times: 22.55, :44.50, 1:08.11
Final Time: