Factor It In Proves Too Tough in $100,000 Dave’s Friend

December 30, 2022

Factor It In much the best in the $100K Dave’s Friend (MJC)

Swayin to and Fro Cruises in $100,000 Willa On the Move

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

LAUREL, Md.— Michael Scheffres’ Factor It In, third in back-to-back out-of-town graded stakes, returned to his favorite track to notch his second stakes victory of the fall meet in Friday’s $100,000 Dave’s Friend at Laurel Park.

The 19th running of the Dave’s Friend for 3-year-olds and up sprinting six furlongs and 11th renewal of the 6 ½-furlong Willa On the Move for fillies and mares 3 and up were among six $100,000 stakes on a Christmastide Day rescheduled from Dec. 26.

Factor It In ($6), trained by Carlos Mancilla, covered the distance in 1:10.65 over a fast main track to give jockey Angel Cruz his second stakes win of the day, following the Gin Talking with 2-year-old filly Malibu Moonshine.

A change of tactics saw Factor It In, who typically comes from off the pace, on the lead after breaking from the his outside post. He went the first quarter-mile in 22.70 seconds pressed by Jaxon Traveler, whose multiple stakes wins include the May 21 Maryland Juvenile (G3) at historic Pimlico Race Course.

Factor It In remained in front through a half in 46.04 with Jaxon Traveler still in pursuit until leaving room straightening for home for even-money favorite Beren, winner of the July 16 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel, to slip through and challenge the leader. Factor It In proved too tough, sprinting clear to win by 1 ¼ lengths.

“The plan was to sit off the pace but he broke good and I was right there easily, and I just took it. I said, ‘I’m not going to take back from there,” Cruz said. “I had tons of horse. He broke that well I just grabbed him, he took the bit and went from there. Mancilla had him ready, the owner gave me the opportunity and the whole group did a good job.”

Beren was a decisive second, 6 ¼ lengths ahead of Savoy, followed by Karan’s Notion, Divine Leader, Kenny Had a Notion, Jaxon Traveler and Showtime Cat. Defending champion Threes Over Deuces, Wendell Fong and Going to the Lead were scratched.

Factor It In won the seven-furlong Challedon against Maryland-bred/sired horses Oct. 1 at Laurel before heading to New York, where he was third by a half-length in the Oct. 29 Bold Ruler (G3) and third by a neck in the Nov. 26 Fall Highweight (G3), both at Aqueduct. He owns 10 wins from 26 career starts and is 7-for-11 lifetime at Laurel.

Dave’s Friend, the first pure sprinter to earn over $1 million, started 76 times over nine seasons from 1978-86 and retired at age 11 with 35 wins and as Maryland’s all-time leading money earner. Seventeen of his wins came in stakes at nine different tracks, including the Marylander (G3) and Patriot (G3) in 1978, when he also finished second in the Monmouth Invitational (G1). Maryland’s Horse of the Year in 1980 and inducted into the Maryland Thoroughbred Hall of Fame in 2016, Dave’s Friend set records at four different tracks.

Swayin to and Fro Cruises in $100,000 Willa On the Move

Swayin to and Fro shakes free to win the $100K Willa On the Move (MJC)

Baxter Racing Stable’s Swayin to and Fro shook free of a front-running duel with fellow multiple stakes winner Dontletsweetfoolya and opened up through the lane under a hand ride from jockey Grant Whitacre to cruise to a 6 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Willa On the Move.

Trained by Mario Serey Jr., Swayin to and Fro ($6) ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.59 over a fast main track for her eighth career win, third in a stakes and second straight following the seven-furlong Safely Kept Nov. 26 at Laurel.

Dontletsweetfoolya broke sharply and found herself on an early lead, quickly joined to her inside by Swayin to and Fro as they sped through splits of 23.01 and 46.70 seconds with Fouette and Fille d’Esprit, the 6-5 favorite off back-to-back stakes wins, giving closest chase.

Swayin to and Fro rounded the far turn with a short lead and rolled through the stretch under confident handling by Whitacre to leave her rivals behind. Dontletsweetfoolya stayed up for second, two lengths ahead of Fouette. It was 2 ¼ lengths back to Fille d’Esprit in fourth.

Juror Number Four, Movie Moxy and Flashy Charge completed the order of finish. Moody Woman and Union Lake were scratched.

Serey claimed Swayin to and Fro for $16,000 out of an 8 ¼-length maiden victory May 26 at historic Pimlico Race Course. The sophomore daughter of Straight Talking then reeled off four consecutive wins before earning her first stakes victory in the Sept. 10 Shine Again. Swayin to and Fro snapped a three-race losing streak last out in the Safely Kept.

“Mario was a longtime trainer for me at Parx,” co-owner Kirkland Taylor said. “We saw this horse and said, ‘Mario, look at this horse. We really want to claim this horse.’ As soon as we called and asked him how the horse looked, he said, ‘This horse looks good. We should take it,’ and we followed Mario. From Day 1, it’s all about Mario. He makes the right moves with this horse, and we’re just happy for him.”

Willa On the Move was a Maryland-bred daughter of Assert (IRE) that raced 12 times as a 3-year-old in 1988 winning five stakes, including the Marshua and Gay Matelda at Laurel Park and Moccasin and Caesar’s Wish at Pimlico. From there she won the Ashland (G1), ran third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Alabama (G1) and second in the Gazelle (G1) and Spinster (G1) before being retired following the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

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