Following an eight-length breakthrough going six furlongs at Santa Anita March 19—his fourth maiden special weight try—the Bob Baffert-trained son of Discreet Cat raced just off grade 3 winner Kentuckian in the Los Angeles, moved by in the turn, and sped away to win by 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Eastwood.
"He ran second to one of my other horses (Valiant Minister, Jan. 17 at Santa Anita) and then he came back last time out and won by eight," Baffert said. "Anytime you win a maiden race by that much here, you know you have something special."
Lord Simba completed the six-furlong test in 1:08.74 under jockey Martin Garcia after Kentuckian set fractions of :21.86 and :44.73 through a half-mile. Kentuckian tired to finish last, behind third-place finisher Grazen Sky.
"He ran exactly the way I thought he would," Garcia said. "I didn't want to take his speed away from him, so we just pressed (Kentuckian). When I asked him to run, he took off like we just started."
The scratch of Ike Walker brought the field down to four for the Los Angeles and the victory pushed Lord Simba's earnings to $121,200.
"He's been training really well and I knew this race was coming up light, with no heavy hitters, so I didn't think I needed to wait for an allowance race," Baffert said. "With the way he was training, we wanted to take a shot and it looks like it was the right choice."
Bred by Lynn B. Schiff in Kentucky, Lord Simba was a $300,000 purchase by Charles Chu at the 2015 Ocala Breeders' Sale Co.'s April sale of 2-year-olds in training out of Randy Bradshaw's consignment.