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Lord Nelson Waltzes Home in G1, $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 8, 2016)—Heavily favored Lord Nelson overhauled longshot All Run with a sixteenth of a mile to run and waltzed to an impressive 2 ½ length win in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, his fourth win in a row and his third consecutive Grade I triumph for B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm and trainer Bob Baffert. Ridden by Flavien Prat, the 4-year-old Pulpit colt negotiated six furlongs in 1:08.80.

A Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge race, the win assures Lord Nelson a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.

“I was a little worried about All Run pulling away from us and at the three eighths pole, I didn’t look like the winner,” said Prat, who rode the horse for the first time in taking the Grade I, six furlong Bing Crosby Stakes on July 31. “I think my horse is better going further. But, when he switched leads he just took off and we really started running.”

Purchased by Hughes following a third place finish in the Grade I Malibu Stakes here Dec. 26, Lord Nelson has been perfect in four starts under the Spendthrift colors and was thus heavily favored at 1-2 in a field of five 3-year-olds and up. With a massive $699,812 bet to show (of a total show pool of $752,109), Lord Nelson paid $3.00, $2.10 and $2.10.

“The (Breeders’ Cup) Sprint is a tough race to win, but if you have the right kind of horse you can do it and so far, Lord Nelson looks like the right kind of horse. He likes this track, he hasn’t lost this year.”

With five wins from eight tries at Santa Anita, Lord Nelson now has seven wins from 12 overall starts and with the winner’s share of $180,000, he increased his earnings to $958,271.

“My dad has a cold or he would’ve been here,” said Hughes’ daughter, Tammy Hughes Gustavson. “He’s here in L.A., but wasn’t feeling well enough to come. My husband and I left the S.C. (Trojan football) game to come out today. We’re looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with this horse. We’ll be here and there’ll be a lot of people from the farm (Spendthrift, in Lexington, Ky.) as well.”

Breaking from the rail, reformed claimer All Run was sent to the lead by Martin Garcia and proved tough to catch, despite setting blistering fractions of 21.37, 43.83 and 56 flat.

“When a race like this is at six furlongs, you just keep it simple,” said Garcia. “With these kinds of horses, you need to just let it go unless the horse doesn’t break. My horse likes to run on the front end and I had to get after him a little bit early because my (post) position was number one…I just got beat by a better horse.”

Off at 23-1, All Run finished 3 ¾ lengths clear of Jazzy Times and paid $8.80 and $2.80.

Lord Nelson’s stablemate, lightly raced Jazzy Times, sat second to the winner through the first half mile but flattened out badly through the drive. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, he was off at 3-2 and paid $2.10 to show.

The Santa Anita Sprint Championship was run as the fourth race on a 10-race card Saturday.

JOCKEY QUOTES

FLAVIEN PRAT, LORD NELSON, WINNER: “I was a little worried about All Run pulling away from us and at the three-eighths pole, I didn’t look like the winner. I think my horse is better going further. But when he switched leads he just took off and we really started running.”

MARTIN GARCIA, ALL RUN, SECOND: “When a race like this is at six furlongs, you just keep it simple.. With these kinds of horses, you need to just let it go unless the horse doesn’t break. My horse likes to run on the front end and I had to get after him a little bit early because my position was number one, and he kept running. I just got beat by a better horse.”

TRAINER QUOTES

BOB BAFFERT, LORD NELSON, WINNER AND JAZZY TIMES, THIRD: “I was surprised Jazzy (Times) didn’t hang in there a little more, so I was disappointed, because on hot days like this, speed really holds well. (Flavien) Prat rode him (Lord Nelson) like he normally does. He’s got a big turn of foot. The one horse (All Run) though, he was running pretty easily.”

Addressing the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Nov. 5: “There’s always a lot of speed in that race. You’ve got Masochistic, and you’ve got Drefong (trained by Baffert). He’s pretty fast, too. He worked well today. To win the Sprint you have to be doing really well, be at the top of your game. Post position is so important, the break is important. The Sprint is a difficult race to win, but if you have the right kind of horse you can do it, and so far, Lord Nelson looks like the right kind of horse. He likes this track and he hasn’t lost this year.”

TAMMY HUGHES GUSTAVSON, DAUGHTER OF WINNING OWNER B. WAYNE HUGHES: “My dad has a cold or he would’ve been here. He’s here in L.A., but wasn’t feeling well enough to come. My husband and I left the S.C. game (USC football game) to come out today. We’re looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with this horse. We’ll be here and there’ll be a lot of people from the farm (Spendthrift) as well.”

NOTES: The winning owner is B. Wayne Hughes of Lexington, Ky., who races as Spendthrift Farm.

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