Idle since Dec. 26, Lord Nelson came back running on Friday at Santa Anita, taking the track's $65,000 allowance feature by 3 ½ lengths while negotiating six furlongs in a rapid 1:07.94 under Rafael Bejarano. Trained by Bob Baffert, the 4-year-old colt by Pulpit was third to Eclipse Champion Sprinter Runhappy in the Grade I, seven furlong Malibu here on Dec. 26, and was subsequently purchased privately by B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm, LLC.
“He's filled out, he's gotten stronger,” said Baffert. “We've got to figure everything out before we decide what's next. This was a tough race. These allowance races here have been so salty…I knew he was ready today. He's pretty fit and he's been training well so I wasn't too worried about the 44 half and he really kicked it into another gear turning for home.”
Breaking from post position three in a field of six 3-year-olds and up, Lord Nelson was part of a four-way tussle for the early lead and was a close third, just to the outside of Kafister and Raised a Secret going into the far turn.
“He broke really good and I just decided to keep my position going into the turn,” said Bejarano. “In the stretch, he opened up really good and he finished really strong.”
The 3-2 favorite, Lord Nelson paid $5.00, $3.40 and $2.80. A winner of Santa Anita's Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente in February, 2015, Lord Nelson got his fourth win from 10 starts. With the winner's share of $39,000, he increased his earnings to $418,271.
Last into the far turn, Mike Smith guided Ocho Ocho Ocho to the rail and with scintillating splits of 21.55, 44.00 and 55.82 to exploit, “Ocho” appeared poised for a huge effort turning for home, but was second best behind the runaway winner.
Off at 9-2, Ocho Ocho Ocho finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of Raised a Secret and paid $5.40 and $3.40.
Ridden by Santiago Gonzalez, Raised a Secret was dispatched at 9-1 and paid $3.80 to show.
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