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Factor for Stamina?

We know that The Factor is fast. In his maiden win he set a Santa Anita six furlong track-record of 1:06.98 – admittedly over a strip that was then playing like a paved highway – and he returned last weekend to win the seven furlong San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) in 1:20.34, after setting fractions of :22.20; :43.41; and 1:07.31.

What we don’t know is how fast the three-year-old will carry his blazing speed (although we will probably find out if The Factor turns up for this recently announced next target, the nine furlong Sunland Park Derby (gr. III) on March 27). Still, for the moment we can have a look at his pedigree.

The Factor’s sire is the Danzig horse War Front (TrueNicks,SRO), one of the leading lights of the current second season sires. War Front was a minor stakes winner over 8½ furlongs at three, but did better sprinting at four, winning the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeder’s Cup Handicap (gr. II), and taking second in five other graded sprints, including the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) and Forego Stakes (gr. I). So far, the story is pretty much all speed, but we get a different perspective when we come to War Front’s dam, Starry Dreamer. She was a daughter of Rubiano, but very untypical offspring of that champion sprinter. Although she was capable on dirt – she ran second in the Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) on that surface – Starry Dreamer was at her best going long on the turf, winning three stakes, including the Palisades Stakes at nine furlongs, and placing in several major events, including seconds in Long Island (gr. II) and La Prevoyante (gr. III) Handicaps at 12 furlongs.

As we’ve mentioned, War Front is off to a very bright start with his first three-year-olds. To date, he’s been represented by 25 individual winners, and in addition to The Factor, they include Soldat (winner of the With Anticipation Stakes (gr. III), and second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. II), last year, and now pointing the the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) on dirt after an impressive off-the-turf allowance win on his 2011 debut); the Louisiana Jewl (sic) Stakes victress Tensas Punch, and Warning Flag, a stakes winner and group-placed in Ireland.

The Factor’s dam, the Miswaki mare, Greyciousness, won at up to 8½ furlongs, as did her dam, the minor stakes winner Skatingonthinice. Skatingonthinice never bred a stakes winner, but her Seattle Slew son Chief Seattle was a very talented juvenile, who was second in both the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Skatingonthinice was also half sister to Showering (by Greyciousness’s sire, Miswaki), who was a stakes-winning Canadian speedster, scoring from 4½ to seven furlongs. When bred to Perfect Soul (a son of Sadler’s Wells), Showering produced Perfect Shower, winner of the Canadian classic Breeders’ Stakes at 12 furlongs on the turf.

The Factor, who is TrueNicks rated A++ (click for report) is a product of the cross of War Front with Mr. Prospector line mares. Versions of this cross are responsible of all four of War Front’s stakes winners to date. Soldat is out of a mare by Coronado’s Quest, a son of Forty Niner; Tensas Punch has a dam by Pulling Punches, by Two Punch); and Warning Flag is out of a mare by Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO), so inbred to Fappiano.

The Mr. Prospector strain is back in the fourth generation of Warning Flag, but Soldat, Tensas Punch, and The Factor represent the three stakes winners from only ten starters sired by War Front out of mares by sons or grandsons of Mr. Prospector. As far as The Factor is concerned, we can note that the sire and dam are reverse Nearctic/Mr. Prospector crosses, with the Nearctic through the three-quarters relatives Northern Dancer and Icecapade, while War Front’s broodmare sire, Rubiano, is also a Mr. Prospector/Nearctic cross. As far as distance capacity is concerned, the TrueNicks Enhanced Report shows that the offspring of the War Front/Mr. Prospector cross have an average winning distance which is longer than their average distance raced (7.08 furlongs against 6.45 furlongs for the colts), but while The Factor may well capture the Sunland Park Derby if he clears his field, we think that he’s a sprinter/miler, and that he’s more likely to earn grade I honors in the King’s Bishop than Kentucky Derby.

The other three-year-old colt to win a Derby prep was Archarcharch (TrueNicks A), who defeated grade I winner J P’s Gusto by a length in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III). This pedigree actually has a slightly “turfy” feel to it as the son of Arch (TrueNicks,SRO) is out of the stakes-placed Woodman mare Woodman’s Dancer, who in turn is out of Pattern Step, a Nureyev daughter who captured the Hollywood Oaks (gr. I). Just to underline that point, we can note that two half sisters to Woodman’s Dancer have produced stakes winners by Arch in Europe, one the dual group-winning Arch Swing, also runner-up in 1,000 Guineas (gr. I), and the other Arch Rebel, a four time listed winner in Ireland. Overall, Arch hasn’t been sensational with mares by Mr. Prospector and his sons and grandsons (seven stakes winners from 111 starters), but when a horse bred on the Mr. Prospector/Buckpasser cross is in the male line, the result has been rather different, with Archarcharch being joined by grade I winners Blame (TrueNicks,SRO) and Pine Island (out of mares by Seeking the Gold), and graded winner Arch Mistress (dam by Black Tie Affair, by Miswaki) to make the score four graded winners from 34 starters.

Among the three-year-old fillies, Kathmanblu continued to impress, taking the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III). She’s from the first crop of Bluegrass Cat (TrueNicks,SRO), out of a mare by Devil’s Bag, a cross that was somewhat predictable, as Bluegrass Cat’s dam, She’s a Winner, also produced multiple graded stakes winner Lord of the Game to Devil’s Bag’s brother, Saint Ballado.

The resurgent Mineshaft (TrueNicks,SRO) was also represented by a filly to watch in It’s Tricky, who had eight lengths to spare at the finish of the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct. It’s Tricky is out of the stakes winning Tale of the Cat (TrueNicks,SRO) mare Catboat, and is inbred 3x4x4 to Mr. Prospector. She follows the very promising 3-year-old colt Dialed In as the second stakes winner by Mineshat out of a Storm Cat line mare, the cross having come up empty with 22 starters prior to this year.

Among older distaffers, Harissa became the sixth graded winner from the first crop sired by Afleet Alex (TrueNicks,SRO) (who also had three-year-old colts Sway Away and Elite Alex graded-placed in classic preps last week). Successful in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II), Harissa (TrueNicks A++) is out of a mare by Time For A Change, and is the second stakes winner from her sire out of a Damascus line mare (the other being out of a mare by Gilded Time, a horse with a similar background to Time For A Change).

Another four-year-old filly, Awesome Maria, who was near the top of the division at two, kicked of her campaign with a win in the Sabin Stakes (gr. III). Awesome Maria (TrueNicks A) must be worth a small fortune as a broodmare, since the daughter of Maria’s Mon is a out of a half sister to grade I winners Discreetly Mine (TrueNicks,SRO) and Discreet Cat (TrueNicks,SRO), and the granddam is grade I winner Pretty Discreet.

On the West Coast and in the same division as Harissa and Awesome Maria, four-year-old mare, Cozi Rosie (TrueNicks A+) took the Buena Vista Handicap (gr. II). She is by Pleasantly Perfect (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a mare by the Nijinsky II horse Golden Fleet. Pleasantly Perfect is out of the group I-winning Regal State, who is an Exclusive Native/Nijinsky II cross, where the dam of Cozi Rosie is a Nijinsky II/Exclusive Native cross (most of the good Pleasantly Perfects have some reinforcement of the Northern Dancer/Raise a Native combination).

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