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The following post appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.

When the first crop of yearlings by the Danzig stallion War Front came to the sales in 2009, the response was very warm, with young prospects bringing up to $180,000. And with the results from his first crop of runners, which turned 3 at the New Year, War Front has some salty performers spread across the continent.

In addition to an impressive 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream by last year’s graded stakes winner Soldat, a gray colt of War Front named The Factor (pedigree) has been the talking horse of Southern California after setting a new track record at Santa Anita for six furlongs in 1:06.98. The Factor set that mark on the day after Christmas, on the same day that Twirling Candy set a record for seven furlongs in 1:19.70, and despite the impressive nature of both performances, some handicappers wanted the colts to run back and confirm their form.

Earlier in the month, Twirling Candy won the Grade 2 Strub Stakes, and The Factor made his stakes debut in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday. Once again, the colt showed that speed is his forte.

The powerful colt was quickly away from the gate and showed unsettling speed as he kept pace with early leader City Cool and then assumed command of the race through fractions of :22.20, :43.41, and 1:07.31. City Cool faded to last, while Premier Pegasus stayed near the pace and moved into second on the turn before Sway Away displaced him with an eye-catching run from far back. The Factor held Sway Away in second to win the stakes in 1:20.34.

The colt’s victory made him the fourth stakes winner from War Front’s first crop of 76 foals. Out of the Miswaki mare Greyciousness, The Factor was bred in Kentucky by H & W Thoroughbreds and is a foal of March 13. The seventh foal of his dam and her first stakes winner, The Factor came along after the commercial bloom had left the rose for Greyciousness.

The mare, sent through the ring at the Keeneland January sale in 2007 in foal to Stormy Atlantic, fetched $47,000 and produced the colt Atlantic Vision not long thereafter for new owners H & W Thoroughbreds.

Tony Hegarty and John Wade are H & W Thoroughbreds, and they are business partners of Hunter Valley Farm, operated by Adrian Regan and Fergus Galvin. The Factor was bred and raised at Hunter Valley, and Regan said, “We sold him as a foal, and the owners have sold the mare privately since. He was a very, very nice foal, and the Indian Creek guys bought him off us. They thought he would be a very good yearling, and when I saw him the next year, he certainly looked the part.”

Iroquois Bloodstock III purchased The Factor for $50,000 as a weanling at the 2008 Keeneland November sale, then sold him at a loss the next July amid the crumbling bloodstock market. Kim Valerio, as agent, bought the colt for $40,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select yearling sale, and The Factor went through the program at Eisaman Equine in preparation for his 2-year-old sale, which took place in California at Barretts in May 2010.

There the colt’s athleticism and obvious speed shook off the limitations set on him by other commercial factors, and he sold out of the Jerry Bailey Sales consignment for $250,000, the third-highest price for a juvenile in training by War Front last year. The buyer was George Bolton, who races the colt in partnership with Fog City Stables.

With The Factor and other promising young athletes to advertise his merits as a sire, War Front has been increasingly popular the last six months. This is a welcome turn for the breeding business and for the prospects of competitive racing across the country, as another young sire shows the quality and versatility of his stock.

With War Front priced at $15,000 for a live foal, payable when it stands and nurses, Claiborne has hit a nugget of gold with a young stallion who is appreciating in the marketplace. Claiborne’s Bernie Sams said that “War Front is book full. I don’t have another season left.”

And that, in the dark days of winter reluctantly coming toward spring, is a good feeling for any farm this year.