Spendthrift Farm’s brilliant Lord Nelson set a stakes record and barely missed Del Mar’s track mark for six furlongs with an overpowering performance in Sunday’s Grade I $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes.
Rallying to the front turning for home after stalking a fast pace set by stablemate Justin Squared and Subtle Indian, Lord Nelson, piloted by Flavien Prat, never was seriously threatened in the stretch as he scored by four lengths in a blazing 1:07.65 for the distance.
Lord Nelson’s time broke the stakes mark of 1:07.80 set by Crazy Kid in a division of the Crosby in l962, which was a world record at the time, and was only five-one hundredths slower than the track standard of 1:07.60 set by King of Cricket in 1973.
Lord Nelson, a four-year-old son of Pulpit bred in Kentucky, scored his sixth victory in a dozen starts and first money of $180,000 boosted his earnings to $678,271. Previously, he won the Grade I Triple Bend at Santa Anita.
Indexical, a 40-1 longshot ridden by Santiago Gonzalez, ran well to be second in the field of eight top sprinters, three and one-quarter lengths ahead of third-place Alsvid, with Kaabraaj fourth. Bluegrass Bronco was withdrawn.
Lord Nelson went postward the even-money favorite and paid $4, $3.20 and $2.20. Indexical returned $19 and $7, while Alsvid paid $3.60.
With his triumph, Lord Nelson is guaranteed a berth in the $1.5 million Twin Spires Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita November 5 since the Bing Crosby is part of the “Win and You’re In” series of qualifying races.
Lord Nelson completed a perfect three-for-three afternoon for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who also saddled two winners for Zayat Stables, American Cleopatra in the third and Jazzy Times in the seventh
American Cleopatra, a full sister to 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, made her debut a winning one as she won impressively, by two lengths, in 1:03.38 for the five and one-half furlongs.
With the same connections as American Pharoah, American Cleopatra, a two-year-old daughter of Pioneerof the Nile, led virtually from wire-to-wire under jockey Stewart Elliott and returned a generous $16.60 to her backers.
— Del Mar Racetrack (@DelMarRacing) July 31, 2016
The Zayat Stables, Baffert and Elliott made it a double with Jazzy Times, who paid $4.80 as the favorite after running six and one-half furlongs in a swift 1:14.42.
In Sunday’s Pick Six there were seven perfect tickets and each was worth $93,583.60. There was a carryover from Saturday of $149,543 and with “new” money Sunday of $779,304, the total pool was $928,847.
Sunday’s attendance was 11,040.
Bing Crosby Stakes Quotes
FLAVIEN PRAT (Lord Nelson, winner) – “Bob (trainer Bob Baffert) just told me to get him a good break, then to sit up close to the speed. It worked out really well. This horse was special today. He ran huge. He might be as fast a horse as I’ve ever sat on.”
SANTIAGO GONZALEZ (Indexical, second) – “At the three-eighths pole I had to choose and I went down inside. Because of it I got through and allowed him to make his good run.”
CHRIS LANDEROS (Alsvid, third) – “I have no complaints; my horse ran big. The way they were going up front, I thought they’d come back to me. But these are just really fast horses here. The winner (Lord Nelson) is going to be one of the favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Tough horses.”
BOB BAFFERT (Lord Nelson, winner) “He’s become a serious sprinter. I was worried about the cutback (to six furlongs) but he has been training so well. He’s getting better and better. He was pretty close to those fast splits and he still had a kick left. So that was really impressive. I woke up this morning thinking we could win them all, but unfortunately we got beat in the Haskell. But the others ran well, they ran like they’ve been training and that’s all you can ask for.”
(Baffert was three for three on the Del Mar card today and second in the $1-million Haskell at Monmouth Park with American Freedom.)
FRACTIONS: :21.16 43.73 :55.73 1:07.65
The final time is five-one-hundreds off the track record (1:07.60) set by King of Cricket in an allowance race at Del Mar in 1973. Lord Nelson’s time does establish a stakes record for the Crosby, eclipsing the 54-year-old (1962) record of 1:07.80 set by Crazy Kid, which at the time was a world’s record.
The stakes win was the second of the meet for rider Prat and his second in the Crosby (he won last year’s on Wild Dude). He now has six stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the second of the meet for trainer Baffert and his fourth in the Crosby. He now has 115 stakes wins at the track, far and away the most by any trainer.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club