Cofactor guns for fourth straight in Gin Talking
Cofactor won her third straight in taking Laurel Park’s Smart Halo Stakes. Photo by Maryland Jockey Club.
Stoneway Farm’s homebred Cofactor, a professional winner of her stakes debut last month at Laurel Park, returns looking to stretch her streak to four consecutive races in the $100,000 Gin Talking.
A daughter of two-time Grade 1-winning sprinter The Factor, Cofactor drew the rail in a field of 10 2-year-old fillies and will have the services of Jorge Vargas Jr., Maryland’s leading rider of 2018, for the first time. All horses will carry 123 pounds.
Cofactor has had three works since her triumph in the Warrior’s Reward Smart Halo Nov. 16 at Laurel, including a three-furlong breeze in 38.05 seconds Dec. 21 over the Belmont Park training track that ranked as the third-fastest time of 21 horses on the day.
“She’s doing well. The track at Belmont was a little deep and cuppy and she just went an easy three-eighths,” trainer Kelly Breen said. “She came out of it good and we’re ready to go.”
Cofactor was sent off as the heavy favorite in her unveiling Aug. 10 at Monmouth Park, setting the early pace before fading to be third, beaten 2 ¼ lengths, in a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight. She came back at the same level going six furlongs Sept. 14 and was a determined neck winner while racing on the rail.
Stepped up to face winners and on the road for the first time, Cofactor responded with a similarly gutsy head triumph in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance Oct. 16 at Keeneland, which served as an ideal prep for the Smart Halo. In that race, Cofactor settled in behind horses before weaving her way through traffic and opening up to win by 1 ¾ lengths as the favorite.
“It was nice to see her rate,” Breen said. “We’re just hoping to see her go on to bigger and better things. I don’t think the distance should hurt her. By the way she trains, she’ll rate, and she galloped out strong last time.
“We always thought she had talent,” he added. “She was showing up every day in the morning, which is why we were disappointed in her first start. But since then, she’s been the filly that we always thought she was. She’s a very nice filly.”
On Your Left Racing and Daniel Kjorsvik’s Princess Adira is less than a length shy of being undefeated in three starts, losing her debut by three-quarters with a huge six-wide rally and falling a neck shy second time out as the favorite, going six and 5 ½ furlongs, respectively.
Most recently, the Lacey Gaudet trainee settled just off the lead before taking over at the top of the stretch and sprinting clear to a 4 ¾-length victory in a six-furlong maiden special weight Nov. 17 at Laurel. Forest Boyce gets the call from Post 7.
“She’s doing great. She had some confidence after that last race. I think that really helped her, but she’s just maturing every day. I like the little bit of distance added with the seven furlongs. It’s going to be a tough race. It’s not going to be easy, for sure, but I think she’ll hold her own,” Gaudet said. “I think Forest will fit her nicely.”
Magic Stable’s Ankle Monitor owns two wins in four starts at Laurel, a maiden claiming triumph July 26 and a 2 ½-length optional claiming allowance victory Nov. 15 going a mile in her most recent start. The chestnut filly also has stakes experience, finishing fourth but being placed third in the Tempted Nov. 1 at Aqueduct.
“She’s doing really good,” trainer Claudio Gonzalez said. “She breezed good the other day and that’s why I decided to keep her here and run. I think the seven furlongs is going to be very good for her. I’m very happy with how she’s training.”
Also entered are Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies winner Precious, unbeaten in two starts, and runner-up Chilly Sky; Bella Aurora, third in the Anne Arundel County Stakes on turf Sept. 28 at Laurel; Fly On Angel, second in the Parx Juvenile Fillies Nov. 4; Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship show finisher Naughty Thoughts; Still Alive, third to Cofactor in the Smart Halo; and Wonder City.
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