Bob Baffert might need a leash instead of reins to slow down The Factor. One of the Hall of Fame trainer’s leading Kentucky Derby prospects, The Factor worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s traditional dirt main track Sunday morning in 58 seconds flat under former jockey Joe Steiner.

“I didn’t want him to go that fast,” Baffert said of the gray 3-year-old son of War Front, who set a track record of 1:06.98 for six furlongs when he broke his maiden by 8 ¼ lengths at Santa Anita on opening day, Dec. 26. “He went a little too fast . . . He got away from the rider.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do (for his next race). I’m not saying nothing,” Baffert continued, somewhat tongue-in-cheek. “I know nothing.”

Sunday’s fastest five furlong drill was by Camp Victory, who was clocked in :57.40 for trainer Carla Gaines.

Sir Beaufort Stakes winner Sidney’s Candy, meanwhile, worked five furlongs for next Saturday’s San Fernando Stakes in an identical 58 seconds flat under Joel Rosario. Other San Fernando probables include Do It All, Patrick Valenzuela; Make Music for Me, no rider; Tweebster, Rafael Bejarano; and Victory with Honor, no rider.


For Hector Olvera Palma, life is all about family and horses, in that order. The 73-year-old trainer unquestionably has his priorities properly aligned. That’s why the native of Mexico City is a man at peace with himself after what he considers a medical miracle that saved his wife’s life when she was at death’s door and led him to take a lengthy sabbatical.

“I’ve been training since 1971,” the soft-spoken Palma said, “and I’ve won over a thousand races (including two from 10 starters at Santa Anita this meet). But in 2000, my wife (Becky) developed an aneurism, and doctors gave her six hours to live. Thank God, today she’s still with me. That’s why I retired for three years, to care for her and help with her therapy.

“Once it was determined that she would be OK, she told me, ‘You love horses. Go back.’ So I did, and it’s taken me time to build a stable. Now, I have a couple decent partners, Baltazar Siqueiros and George Yager, who races as BG Stables. We’re going to keep going, and I’m going to look for more horses to build up my stable like before.

“Right now, I have 18 horses, but I want to have around 30. I enjoy being competitive. The game has changed a lot since I began, but I’ve had a good run. I was leading trainer at Hollywood Park and at Los Alamitos for eight years when we raced Thoroughbreds. I also did well at Pomona (Fairplex Park).

“I’ve had pretty good luck. I’m a lucky person.”


Los Angeles County is seismically retrofitting the railroad bridge crossing at Huntington Drive and Second Avenue in a project that started Jan. 3. The project will take 14 weeks to complete and will be divided into two work periods for each abutment. For the first seven-week period, eastbound Huntington Drive will be reduced to one lane and for the other seven-week period, westbound Huntington Drive will be reduced to one lane.

For an alternate route, fans are encouraged take Huntington Drive to Santa Clara and turn left. Take Santa Clara to 5th Avenue and turn right then turn left on Huntington Drive.

FINISH LINES: M One Rifle, winner of the 2009 Malibu Stakes, worked four furlongs Sunday for Bruce Headley in a bullet :46.20. Other noteworthy drills among the 120 recorded on Santa Anita’s dirt main track included San Gabriel Stakes winner Jeranimo (three furlongs in :37.40) for Michael Pender; Ventana (a bullet 1:10.20 from the gate), and Plum Pretty (five furlongs in 1:00.60), the latter pair for Bob Baffert. Plum Pretty was scratched from Sunday’s Santa Ysabel Stakes and is scheduled to run in next Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes under Rafael Bejarano. Other probables for the seven furlong race for 3-year-old fillies include Alec’s Moon, no rider; California Nectar, Patrick Valenzuela; Teroda, Victor Espinoza; and Zazu, who also was scratched from the Santa Ysabel . . . Probable for next Monday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf: Bourbon Bay, Bejarano; Champ Pegasus, Joel Rosario; Expansion, Espinoza; Philatelist, Valenzuela; Sebastian Flyte, no rider; Unusual Suspect, Corey Nakatani; and Where’s the Remote, Joe Talamo . . . Paddy Gallagher reports Aggie Engineer came out of his impressive victory in Saturday’s San Pasqual Stakes in good shape and is possible for the Santa Anita Handicap on March 5

. . . Harmonious, beaten a nose as the 3-10 favorite in the inaugural Robert J. Frankel Stakes on grass, was on Santa Anita’s training track Sunday under the watchful eye of trainer John Shirreffs. “We brought her over to try the dirt,” Shirreffs said. “The La Caňada (Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on dirt Feb. 13) is a possibility.” Team Zenyatta plans to leave Saturday night for the Eclipse Awards in Florida, but will stop first at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky to visit the recently retired mare, who is a finalist for Horse of the Year to be announced next Monday . . . Danny Sorenson hopes to resume riding late next month after recovering from a series of injuries that has kept him on the sidelines. The Seattle native, who turns 53 on March 6, sent a text from Texas to his agent, Richie Silverstein, advising him that he plans to come to the track on Feb. 10, be examined by his doctor Feb. 14, and if he is cleared to ride, will get back on horses . . . Santa Anita paddock captain John Shear, who celebrates his 90th birthday Jan. 17, has no plans to retire. “I’ve been at this for 49 years, since 1962,” said John, who lives in Sierra Madre with his wife, Diane. The secret to his longevity: “Don’t stress yourself out.” . . . . Santa Anita patrons can now become a part of the newest addition to Santa Anita’s historic sports palace, the luxury suite experience. The suite includes the following: spacious outdoor accommodations, exquisite catering by Santa Anita, corporate presentation opportunities, theater-style outdoor seating, multiple 32-inch televisions, concierge service and dedicated staff, an account representative to accommodate special and last minute requests, complimentary tote board welcome, a race named in your group’s honor, paddock visits, and a winner’s circle photo for the entire group. The suite hosts up to 30 people comfortably and standing room only tickets are available. Call 800-574-6401 for further information . . . In its continuing saga as the location for television’s biggest shows, Santa Anita Park shines in Tuesday’s episode of “No Ordinary Family.” Catch it at 8 p.m. on KABC-TV, Channel 7. In the episode, a relative of the Powell family learns of its powers and seeks to exploit them, including the ability to “super-handicap” horses (a la Jeff Siegel). That involves a trip to the racetrack, which is where “The Great Race Place” comes in. The show was shot in November of last year . . . Too Much Time On Your Hands Dept.: All nine races at Santa Anita Saturday were won by jockeys whose last names end in a vowel--Bejarano, Espinoza, Pedroza, Rosario, Talamo and Valenzuela . . . Santa Anita is dark Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Racing resumes Thursday at 1 p.m.