Spendthrift Farm's Lord Nelson continued his dominance in Southern California sprints Oct. 8 with a clear score in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (gr. I), his final prep for the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
The Bob Baffert-trained son of Pulpit raced in third early and stalked blazing fractions set by longshot All Run, cruised by in the stretch, and comfortably won by 2 1/2 lengths. Baffert stablemate Jazzy Times, second early, tired to finish third.
All Run ran fractions of :21.37 and :43.83 through a half-mile, and five furlongs went in :56 flat. Lord Nelson finished off the six furlongs at Santa Anita Park under Flavien Prat in 1:08 4/5.
"I was a little worried about All Run pulling away from us and at the three-eighths pol, I didn't look like the winner," Prat said. "I think my horse is better going farther, but when he switched leads, he just took off and we really started running."
"When a race like this is at six furlongs, you just keep it simple," said All Run's jockey, Martin 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 (of post 1), and he kept running. I just got beat by a better horse."
It was the third straight grade I win for Lord Nelson, following scores in the Triple Bend (gr. I) and Bing Crosby (gr. I), and Baffert was high on his trainee after the race.
"To win the (Breeders' Cup) Sprint, you have to be doing really well—be at the top of your game. ... The Sprint is a difficult race to win," Baffert said. "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."
Off as the 1-2 favorite in the field of five, Lord Nelson paid $3, $2.10, and $2.10 across the board. All Run brought $8.80 and $2.80, and Jazzy Times paid $2.10 to show.
Cautious Giant and Anytime Anyplace brought up the rear in fourth and fifth, respectively, to complete the order of finish. Lord Nelson now has a 7-1-1 record from 13 starts with $958,271 in earnings.