12/26/2010 7:30PM

Santa Anita: Faster than Bid?


Track records are not safe on Santa Anita's newly-installed sand-and-clay track.

On Sunday's opening day of the winter-spring meeting, two long-standing records fell. The Factor, a 2-year-old, beat maidens by running six furlongs in 1:06.98. The old mark of 1:07.20 was set by Sunny Blossom in 1989.

Later, Twirling Candy ran seven furlongs in 1:19.70 in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, breaking Spectacular Bid's 1980 mark of 1:20.

The new track was installed in November, replacing a synthetic surface that was plagued by drainage problems in wet weather. Since training on the new track began on Dec. 6, horsemen have commented that the surface seemed quick. Sunday's performances more than proved them correct. It made a mockery of sorts of the record book.

In their defense, The Factor is a highly-promising soon-to-be 3-year-old colt trained by Bob Baffert.

Twirling Candy has won 5 of 6 starts including three stakes. His only defeat was a fourth in the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes at Hollywood Park in October. Trainer John Sadler considers Twirling Candy to be one of the best prospects in his stable this winter and a horse that can play a major role in the older male division in 2011. Sunday's race proved his theory correct.