Lord Nelson held off Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Texas Red in the Santa Anita Park stretch to take the $200,000 San Vicente S. (G2) on Sunday afternoon, giving Bob Baffert a record nine wins in the seven furlong contest for 3-year-olds.
Off since a rough trip in the Nov. 29 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs, the Peachtree Stable colorbearer vindicated himself with a stirring run in the final furlong on Sunday.
After sitting on the rail down the backstretch, Rafael Bejarano angled four-wide around the turn and into the stretch. Texas Red, at the back early, came up the inside in the stretch and looked like a winner inside the furlong pole. Lord Nelson had other ideas though, and forged ahead in deep stretch to secure the win.
Easy winner of Santa Anita’s Speakeasy S. in October, Lord Nelson has now won three of his five starts and will make his next start in a two-turn race, according to Baffert.
“I want to give a big shout out to (owners) John and Elizabeth Ford; we want to get them to the (Kentucky) Derby,” Baffert told HRTV’s Michelle Yu. “It’s good that (Lord Nelson) is moving forward and we will stretch him out his next start.”
The Forts purchased Lord Nelson for $340,000 from the 2013 Keeneland September Yearling sale. The son of Pulpit is the first foal out of African Jade, whose dam Miss Linda was champion 3-year-old filly in her native Argentina and winner of the Spinster S. (G1) at Keeneland.
Baffert has won four of the last five runnings of the San Vicente. His victory in the race came in 1997 with future Hall of Famer and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Silver Charm.