Factor This, Field Pass win Churchill Downs turf stakes

Stakes recap by Churchill Downs’ publicity department. Coady photo above of Factor This winning the Wise Dan.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, June 20, 2020)Gaining Ground Racing LLC’s 5-year-old Factor This collected his third consecutive stakes win with a hard-fought, front-running triumph while holding off a fast-closing English Bee in Saturday’s 31st running of the $200,000 Wise Dan presented by Ford (Grade II) at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan and trained by Brad Cox, Factor This ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.15 to win by a neck as the even-money favorite. The $119,040 winner’s share of the purse jumped his career record to 29-10-3-4—$844,070.

Pressured into the first turn, down the backstretch and leaving the final turn by English Bee’s Calumet Farmstablemate Ritzy A.P., Factor This dictated the pace through splits of :23.93, :47.53 and 1:11.46. Bridgmohan dropped his hands at the top of the stretch and Factor This responded with determination as he inched clear and was able to hold off a rallying English Bee.

Factor This, with Shaun Bridgmohan up, held off English Bee to win Churchill Downs’ Wise Dan. Coady Photography

“We got a lot of pressure early and, once we sort of got into a rhythm, I tried to wait on him as much as possible,” Bridgmohan said. “I looked over and (Ritzy A.P.) was actually about to take the lead and then I had to go. He was still able to hold off the charge after getting that pressure early. He has a lot of fight and determination; he’s just getting better.”

Factor This paid $4, $3.60 and $2.40. English Bee, with James Graham up, returned $8.60 and $5.40. Parlor was another three-quarters of a length back in third under Tyler Gaffalione and paid $3.80 to show.

Aquaphobia, Emmaus (IRE), March to the Arch, Casa Creed, Just Howard and Ritzy A.P. completed the order of finish. Hembree and Eons were scratched.

Factor This, a $62,500 claim in 2018, has won six races for Cox and Brian and Tom Cutshall, who race as Gaining Ground Racing LLC. Before the Wise Dan, Factor This won the $150,000 Fair Grounds (GIII) and $300,000 Muniz Memorial (GII) at Fair Grounds. Last year he won Ellis Park’s $100,000 Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup and was fourth in Kentucky Downs’ 1 1/2-mile, $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup.

“That wasn’t as easy as an even-money shot is supposed to win but he ran a huge effort,” Cox said. “He got pressure early and every step of the stretch he was able to fight off his rivals. It was an impressive effort on the front end. We’ll get with the owners and determine a plan from here but it was very exciting to see how hard he ran today with that adversity.”

Factor This is a bay son of The Factor out of the Singspiel (IRE) mare Capricious Miss (GB). He was bred in Kentucky by Maccabee Farm.

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FIELD PASS GOES WIRE TO WIRE IN $100,000 AUDUBON

Three Diamonds Farm’s Field Pass led every step of the way en route to a one-length victory over Bama Breeze in Saturday’s inaugural running of the $100,000 Audubon Stakes presented by TwinSpires.com for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

Field Pass, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione and trained by Mike Maker, ran 1 1/8 miles over firm turf in 1:47.99. Breaking from post five in the field of seven, the Maryland-bred son of Lemon Drop Kid rattled off clear early fractions of :24.12, :48.41 and 1:12.18. Field Pass widened his lead with three-eighths of a mile to run and was able withstand a late run by Bama Breeze, who trailed the field down the backstretch.

Tyler Gaffalione guides Field Pass to victory in Churchill Downs’ inaugural Audubon Stakes. Coady Photography

“He ran so easy today on the lead,” Gaffalione said. “We saw there wasn’t much speed in the race so I asked him a little bit out of the gate and was able to get clear on the lead. He had plenty of energy left in the stretch.”

Field Pass, sent to post as the 3-2 favorite, paid $5, $3.20 and $2.60. Bama Breeze, under Corey Lanerie, returned $5.20 and $3.80. Pixelate was another 2 ½ lengths back in third under Mitchell Murrill and paid $2.80 to show.

Natural Power (IRE), Fenwick Station and Summer to Remember completed the order of finish. Kinenosdropped jockey Shaun Bridgmohan a couple of strides after the start when the colt appeared to clip heels with Field Pass. Spanish Kingdom was scratched.

Field Pass earned $60,760 for the win and improved his career record to 10-4-2-1—$358,610. Earlier this year, he won the $100,000 Dania Beach at Gulfstream Park and Turfway’s $217,175 Jeff Ruby Steaks (Grade III).

“He’s been a really nice horse this year for us,” Maker said. “That was a nice victory and did everything very easy.”

Field Pass, out of the Runaway Groom mare Only Me, was bred by Mark Brown Grier.

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Jennie Rees