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    Bob Baffert is a storied trainer with a career that has seen wins in horse racing’s biggest events, but he’s never had a horse cross the wire first in The Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita. That’s one more milestone that Baffert can boast as The Factor took the Malibu in front of the track’s largest crowd on opening day since 1994. On a gorgeous Monday in Arcadia, over 45,000 fans showed up to kick off the Santa Anita winter meet.
     The Factor is a horse with some great moments, but after his last two races, it was time to make a showing.  The three-year-old had previously ran from the post position in the Ancient Title Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, but failed to finish in the money in either race. At the Malibu Stakes, The Factor started out of the 11 spot and showed just how tremendous he can be, finishing just off the track record that was set in 2010 by Twirling Candy. The Factor has a history of running well in Santa Anita, posting three wins in four starts at the Arcadia, California track. In December of 2010, he set a six furlong track record in a maiden special weight race, posting a time of 1:06.98 and showing a glimpse of the horse that he’s become.
     In the Malibu Stakes, The Factor and jockey Martin Garcia broke out early and competed with Centralingeligence for the lead, but took command at the 3/8 pole and went on to victory by 3 ½ lengths over second place finisher Rothko. Rothko pulled within 1 ½ lengths at one point, but never seriously challenged for the lead.
2011 has been a good year for The Factor, out of Fog City Stables, as the George Bolton-owned horse took the San Vicente Stakes, the Pat O’Brien Stakes, and the Rebel Stakes. Overall, he has earned $652,000 and has won five of nine starts, and is certainly racing towards an even brighter future.

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