The 4-year-old Pulpit colt trained by Bob Baffert broke best, but was able to settle off the speediest of fractions under jockey Flavien Prat, moved by the front-runners three wide in the turn, and pulled away to win by four lengths.
"(Baffert) just told me to get him a good break, then sit up close to the speed," Prat said. "It worked out well. This horse was special today. He ran huge. He might be as fast a horse as I've ever sat on."
After Baffert stablemate Justin Squared and Subtle Indian dueled to fractions of :21.16 and :43.73 through a half-mile, Lord Nelson took over to run five furlongs in :55.73 and finished off the six furlongs in 1:07.65, breaking a stakes record that stood at Del Mar since 1962. He was also 0.05 seconds off the track record of 1:07.60 set by King of Cricket in 1973, but that was timed in fifths.
"He's become a serious sprinter," Bafert said. "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 the fast splits and he still had kick left."
Indexical, the second longest shot on the board at 42-1, had a similar stalking trip but was never a threat to the winner. He finished 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Alsvid, who was followed by Kaabraaj, Home Run Kitten, Justin Squared, Dream Saturday, and Subtle Indian to complete the order of finish.
Off as the even-money favorite, Lord Nelson paid $4, $3.20, and $2.20 across the board. Indexial paid $19 and $7, and Alsvid brought $3.60 to show.
The win moved Lord Nelson to three-for-three on the year, following scores in a June 3 allowance and the June 25 Triple Bend (gr. I), both at Santa Anita Park.