07/24/2012 3:36PM

Del Mar: Bing Crosby to match Amazombie vs. The Factor

Audrey C. Crosby
Amazombie hasn't raced since finishing second to Shackleford in the Churchill Downs Stakes.

DEL MAR, Calif. – There will a good old-fashioned shootout at Del Mar on Sunday afternoon, when the speedy The Factor takes on defending sprint champion Amazombie in the Grade 1, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes at six furlongs.

Amazombie finished third in last year’s Crosby, but used that as a springboard to an Eclipse Award. He subsequently won the Ancient Title at Santa Anita, then the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. His trainer and co-owner, Bill Spawr, has a similar itinerary set for this year, with the added bonus that this year’s Breeders’ Cup will be run at Santa Anita, giving Amazombie the home-field advantage.

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First things first, though. Amazombie will be making his first start in 2 1/2 months in the Crosby, and the prospective small field – just four or five runners – should play to the advantage of The Factor, who has more speed.

“The Factor, if there’s a soft pace, he keeps going,” Spawr said on a national teleconference on Tuesday.

Six furlongs, though, is right in Amazombie’s wheelhouse.

“There’s usually more speed that’s going to come back to him,” Spawr said. “That certainly helps. But there’s a lack of speed in this race.”

Amazombie has not raced since finishing second in the seven-furlong Churchill Downs Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard on May 5. Talk about a key race! The winner, Shackleford, came back to win the Met Mile. And the third-place finisher, Gantry, took the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder.

Waiting for the Crosby, Spawr said, was by design. Amazombie skipped the Triple Bend at Betfair Hollywood Park and will race exclusively in six-furlong races the rest of the year.

“The race against Shackleford really knocked him out,” Spawr said.

“He was tired and lost weight.”

After the Crosby, Amazombie will run in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship – the new name for the Ancient Title – and then the Breeders’ Cup.

“They’re on our home base,” Spawr said.

In addition to Amazombie and The Factor, the Crosby field is expected to include Capital Account, Don Tito, and possibly Italian Rules.

The Factor worked a half-mile in 47.40 seconds on Tuesday morning at Del Mar for trainer Bob Baffert.

Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
He was my horse in the BC Sprint last year, I can't go against the Zombie he's super fast.
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
all it will take is one of the cheaper horses in here to hook the Factor early and he will be gasping for air late on the deep Del Mar surface - and he will be 3-5 in here.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I agree. The Factor is one dimensional and he's not a real 6 furlong horse. My rule of thumb with The Factor is that on a fast dirt track, if he is pressed by another horse(particularly if he's on the inside) and forced to go sub-44 for the half, he will spit it out in the stretch. The pressing horse doesn't even have to be good. On Hollywood's incredibly slow(at the end of the meet) Cushion Track, I set the over/under half mile fraction at 44 and 4. In the Triple Bend, The Factor went 44 and 4 and was passed late by Camp Victory. I will watch the races this week to get an idea of how fast Del Mar is playing. At least through Saturday it seemed to be playing slower than last year. If Italian Rules is entered and it looks like the first half will be 44 and 2 or quicker, then The Factor could be very vulnerable 5 horse field or not. This is even more likely if The Factor draws the rail. However, if The Factor draws outside, he's just so much more comfortable there that I could see him surviving a limited pace duel with Italian Rules and then run on well through the stretch, even with a half around 44 and 2. If the pace is sub-44, I don't see even an outside draw helping him fend off Amazombie in the stretch. Of course, there's no guarantee Italian Rules starts. If he doesn't, Baffert certainly isn't going to send stablemate Capital Account up with The Factor, and I don't think Don Tito has the early lick to do so even if his connections wanted. In this scenario, The Factor will be extremely difficult to beat.
Paul_Tuon More than 1 year ago
All of your analysis is good, except the post position, when you seemed to think that The Factor is better on the outside post. The Factor is a speed horse and inside or outside doesn't make any difference since no one can force him to race on the inside or the outside or the middle of the track. His jocky dictates where to place The Factor from start to finish without having his hands forced otherwise. So The Factor woes is not the post position, since he's s super fast horse to get out of the gate and dictates whereever he chooses to run without difficulty. Deep Del Mar track surface may give him way more trouble than the post position,.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Actually, the position stuff is true. Go back and watch The Factor's races. He rarely is able to just clear a field. And whether he is to the inside or outside of the other speed affects him greatly. In his record breaking maiden race, he was outside of horses contending for the lead through moderate(for that track) fractions. In the San Vicente, he was up outside of City Cool through very fast fractions(he survived the duel on the outside). In the Rebel, yes he cleared off but that was at 8.5 furlongs. In the Pat O'Brien, he did race inside of Smiling Tiger as those two duelled for the lead. Again, in a sprint, he wasn't able to clear off. He survived being inside in a duel because the fractions were 22+ and 44+. In the Ancient Title he was on the inside of longshot Sirocco Strike through blazing fractions and spit the bit. In the BC Dirt Mile he broke from the rail and could never clear over in front of Shackeford who stayed glued to his flank and then he tanked in the stretch. In the Malibu he was 3 wide vying for the lead through moderate fractions. In the San Carlos he wasn't able to clear in front of Rothko, so he had to race on the inside. However, the pace was 22 and 2, 44 and 2, and he held on by a half length. So, it's not really post position or what part of the track he's on. It's being inside or outside another horse while vying for the lead. The Factor can survive a quick duel, if he's on the outside(San Vicente), and he can win on the inside of a horse while duelling(Pat O'Brien, San Carlos) as long as the pace is moderate. But if you go back and watch his sprint races, The Factor really doesn't have enough early zip to clear off from a field of sprinters and jump to the outside if he's breaking inside. He just doesn't have that type of early speed. His strength is his ability to go 22, 44, 56, 1:08, 1:20. When he has to go quicker than 22 and 44, he struggles. He's not like Frumious this winter who went 21 and 42 and change. And I can guarantee the pace of the BC Sprint will be at least 21 and 43.
Kermit Pleasant More than 1 year ago
Should be a great race if The Factor on his game look for track record!
Joey W More than 1 year ago
Hope baffert tries turf sprint this year at breeders cup
Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
I want the factor to win and keep winning so all the morons make him favorite on Breeders Cup Day and he has ZERO chance once real horses ship and with speed.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
The best REAL sprinter in the country is Amazombie. 6 furlongs. So, there are real horses out in California already. Hopefully you weren't suggesting California didn't have any real horses, given Amazombie went East last year and won the BC Sprint on his way to Eclipse honors and this year went East again pushed Shackleford to the limit at a 7 furlong distance not to Amazombie's liking. And Amazombie gave Shack 5 pounds, which almost any textbook would say was worth more than the 1 length winning margin. Hoepfully your point is that with a full field of quality horses, inclding quality speed, The Factor has no shot in the 6 furlong Breeder's Cup Sprint. On that point, we're in agreement.
Daryl Steen More than 1 year ago
Dan, the way you worded that you should not be calling others morons. Sounds like The Factor may have cost you some money in the past.
Jack More than 1 year ago
No Pace= No Race, just give the money to Baffert.................
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Italian Rules and Don Tito have the same connections. Italian Rules could go in there just to push The Factor. And becasuse The Factor has not shown an ability to rate off horses or be able to finish when pushed by another horse through quick fractions, Italian Rules' presence could greatly affect the race.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
The Factor just might look like a Zombie after this one... Helluva race and it's 4 days out!