LAUREL, Md. – Either on his own or with partners, Michael Scheffres estimates he has owned horses for some 30 years. He realized a career first Saturday when 6-year-old Factor It In rallied from off the pace to capture the $75,000 Challedon by 2 ¾ lengths at Laurel Park.
The 36th running of the Challedon for 3-year-olds and up, restricted to non-winners of an open sweepstakes, was the second of five stakes worth $575,000 in purses on Saturday’s 10-race program.
“I don’t like to admit this, but this is the first stakes winner I’ve ever had,” Scheffres said after Factor It In, by The Factor, covered seven furlongs in 1:24.16 over a sloppy and sealed main track.
“This horse, every bad race he had he had a legitimate excuse. Now he’s healthy and you see how he runs,” he added. “He even got in a little trouble here.”
With Jorge Ruiz up, Factor It In was in tight along the rail and trailing four horses midway around the far turn when Ruiz shifted to the outside approaching the stretch. Set down for the drive, Factor It In collared pacesetter Backnthewoods – who had gone in splits of 23.22, 47.01 and 1:11.63 – near the sixteenth pole and sprinted clear.
Yodel E.A. Who, the narrow 5-2 favorite, got up for second by a half-length over Backnthewoods, with Famished fourth.
Factor It In, who in the past has run up against such horses as Grade 1 winner Firenze Fire, multiple stakes winner Laki and Maryland Sprint (G3) winner Always Sunshine, now owns nine wins and two seconds from 23 lifetime starts. He was promoted to second after finishing a troubled third in the Aug. 16 Chesapeake Aug. 16 at Colonial Downs in his prior start.
The Challedon honors the Maryland-bred son of Challenger II that won 20 of 44 starts and $334,660 in purses from 1938 to 1942, was recognized as Horse of the Year in 1939 and 1940 and inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1977. Winner of the 1939 Preakness and 1939-40 Pimlico Special, Challedon also sired 13 stakes winners before his death in 1958.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski/MJC