09/30/2011 3:12PM

Santa Anita: Few willing to challenge The Factor in Ancient Title

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Shigeki Kikkawa
The Factor is scaring away the opposition for next weekend's Ancient Title.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The Factor will have few rivals when he starts as a heavy favorite in the $250,000 Ancient Title Stakes for sprinters at Santa Anita next Saturday.

The impressive winner of the Grade 1 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 28 in his first start since April, The Factor is considered one of the top West Coast hopefuls for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.

A winner of 4 of 6 starts and $457,180, The Factor recovered from his win in the Pat O’Brien quickly, trainer Bob Baffert said on Friday.

“He bounced back in three days,” Baffert said.

There were 10 horses nominated to the Grade 1 Ancient Title, which is run over six furlongs and carries a fees-paid berth for the winner to the BC Sprint. Aside from The Factor, other contenders are Amazombie, Crown of Thorns, Mensa Heat, and Square Eddie.

Amazombie was third behind Euroears in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar in July. Mensa Heat has won his last three starts, including the restricted Pirate’s Bounty Stakes over six furlongs in his 38th career race at Del Mar on Sept. 7.

Square Eddie was seventh in the Pirate’s Bounty, his first start since March. In between those races, the 5-year-old was bred to approximately 40 mares at Vessels Stallion Farm. Square Eddie also stood at stud in early 2010. He holds the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs of 1:13.11 set in an allowance race last January.