Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski/MJC
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
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 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.