03/19/2011 7:29PM

The Factor dominates in Rebel at Oaklawn

Coady Photography
The Factor, with Martin Garcia riding, posts a convincing victory in the Rebel.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The Factor put himself on the road to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, when he answered the two-turn question with authority in the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The 1 1/16-mile was his first start beyond seven furlongs, and he settled beautifully before winning off by 6 1/4 lengths.

"He could have gone a mile and an eighth today," said Bob Baffert, who trains The Factor.

That is the distance of the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby, which at this point is the probable next spot for the horse, said Baffert.

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The Factor ($4.80) came into the Rebel off a front-running win in the Grade 2, San Vicente at seven furlongs at Santa Anita. He broke well, settled for jockey Martin Garcia into the first turn, and was unopposed through fractions of 23.33 seconds for the opening quarter, 46.77 for the half-mile, and 1:10.98 for six furlongs. The Factor had more in the stretch, and covered the distance on a track rated fast in 1:42.19.

"I had a lot left," said Garcia, who feels more distance is not a problem for The Factor.

Baffert was also impressed with The Factor, who before the San Vicente won a maiden special weight at six furlongs at Santa Anita, in a track-record time of 1:06.80.

"That was pretty amazing what he did today," Baffert said. "I was worried how he would react coming from Santa Anita, on our track, because our track [compared] to here is pretty light. This track is more demanding.

"So, I think he probably got more out of this race than he's gotten out of all of his races. This should really set him up."

The Factor races for Fog City Stable and George Bolton. He is now 3 for 4 and picked up $180,000 in graded earnings in the Rebel. The Factor is by War Front, who is also the sire of last month's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth winner, Soldat.

Caleb's Posse rallied for second in the Rebel, finishing a neck in front of third-place finisher Archarcharch. Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Caleb's Posse, said it has yet to be decided if the horse will advance to the Arkansas Derby. That race is the plan for Archarcharch, said his co-owner, Bob Yagos.

Alternation was a late scratch, when he lost his hind end in the gate and sat down. Von Hemel, who also trains the horse, said it appears Alternation just "skinned up" his left front leg. "It looks superficial at this point," said Von Hemel.

The remaining order of finish in the Rebel was Saratoga Red in fourth, J W Blue, Sway Away, J P's Gusto, Picko's Pride, and Bluegrass Jam.

* Oaklawn drew a crowd of 34,698.