In a race that came down to the very last jump, Lord Nelson surged by a game Subtle Indian in the $300,000 Triple Bend S. (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita to give trainer Bob Baffert his fifth win in the race and Lord Nelson his first Grade 1 win for the 4-year-old colt owned by Spendthrift Farm.
In a race that shaped up as very competitive on paper, it played out to form with the entire eight-horse field separated by less than five lengths after a quarter mile. Subtle Indian had a short lead, with Lord Nelson bearing down on his outside around the turn.
Meanwhile, Kobe's Back was making a big at the same time, and the trio came into the stretch within a length of each other. Subtle Indian, under Mike Smith, had some run left and cleared off in mid-stretch, but Rafael Bejarano got the most out of Lord Nelson in deep stretch, collaring Subtle Indian just a few jumps from the wire.
The final time for the seven panels was 1:21.04
“When I saw [Kobe's Back ranging up] at the 3/8ths pole, I knew I had to get the jump on him.” said Bejarano, who said afterward on TVG that he thought the 4-year-old colt could stretch out to longer distances if his connections chose to do so.
Lord Nelson, a son of Pulpit out of African Jade, won last year's San Vicente S. (G2) and the Speakeasy S. as a 2-year-old. In his first start in 2016, he took a June 3rd Santa Anita allowance by 3 1/2-lengths.
Saturday's win upped his record to 5-1-1 in 11 starts, with earnings of $598,271.