What would The Factor do if challenged early? Is he just a speed horse that has to run every other horse off its legs, or can he withstand early pressure and still run big? The San Vicente and Rebel Stakes gave us few clues as to the limits of Bob Baffert's Southern California speedball, but the Arkansas Derby finally exposed a weakness in The Factor's armor. J P's Gusto grabbed the early lead in the Grade 1 race at Oaklawn Park, preventing The Factor (the 4/5 betting choice) from establishing his usual early dominance. By the time the field hit the turn, the son of War Chant had little desire to do any serious running, fading to a well-beaten seventh at the wire.
Local horse Archarcharch, winner of the Southwest Stakes earlier this spring, won at 25/1 odds by holding off Nehro at the wire. The Archarcharch/Nehro exacta came back at a bank busting $416.80 for a $2 bet.
Archarcharch paid $52.40, $16.80 and $8.20
Dance City ran a huge race near the lead and rounded out a trifecta that paid $5,282.90 for $1.
If you're Bob Baffert, do you even take The Factor to the Derby? If he quits that easily when challenged early for the lead it seems highly unlikely that he has any legitimate chance to win in Louisville.
Result Chart (via DRF.com)
Internal Splits by Archarcharch:
Fastest closing split in the filed ran by Nehro at 12.42.