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Lord Nelson Edges Out Texas Red in San Vicente Stakes

Lord Nelson Edges Out Texas Red in San Vicente Stakes: Facing a shorter distance and returning from a layoff, reigning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Texas Red lost by a neck in the seven furlong G2 San Vicente at Santa Anita to Lord Nelson, a colt undefeated in three sprint races. With the loss, Texas Red brought his own sprint record to an opposite 0 for 3.

Lord Nelson Horse

Peachtree Stable’s Lord Nelson and jockey Rafael Bejarano, outside, hold off Texas Red and Kent Desormeaux to win the Grade II $200,000 San Vicente Stakes Sunday, February 1, 2015 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA.
Photo: Benoit

Sired by Pulpit and out of a Seeking the Gold mare, Lord Nelson came out of a loss at Churchill Downs in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club where a poor start and wide trip proved costly. In the San Vicente, jockey Rafael Bejarano gave Lord Nelson a successful inside to outside journey for trainer Bob Baffert and owner Peachtree Stable. His overall record improved to 5-3-0-0.

Racing near the pace set by Serbian Syclone, with Jazzy Josh and Sir Samson in close pursuit on the outside, Lord Nelson saved ground on the rail through a moderate 23 second opening quarter. Bench Warrant followed a few lengths back on the outside in fifth, while Texas Red trailed in last early on.

After a half mile in 45.98 seconds, the top three quickened slightly, although Lord Nelson kept within range. Bench Warrant and Texas Red were both asked for runs at this point.

At the top of the stretch, Sir Samson loomed boldly on the outside taking the lead with Lord Nelson in close pursuit and now tipped out wide. Serbian Syclone and Jazzy Josh began to fade, and Texas Red remained near the back with Bench Warrant.

As the field straightened out towards the finish line, Texas Red started to make up a ton of ground in a few strides. Meanwhile, Lord Nelson kept grinding on the far outside and Sir Samson looked in deep water. Texas Red reached for the lead on the inside, but Lord Nelson kept grinding and held on for the victory. Sir Samson held on for a third place finish and Bench Warrant rallied for fourth.

The six furlong split ended up as 1:09.92 and the seven furlongs completed in 1:22.15. According to the press release, Bejarano kept an eye on Texas Red turning for home.

Rafael Bejarano

Trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Rafael Bejarano celebrate Lord Nelson’s San Vicente victory in the Santa Anita Park winner’s circle on February 1, 2015.
Photo: Benoit

“Texas Red was the horse to beat and I was waiting for him,” he explained. “When he came to us I let him (Lord Nelson) go and my horse took off again.”

Veteran jockey Kent Desormeaux rode Texas Red for trainer (and brother) Keith Desormeaux. Kent believed some traffic issues prevented Texas Red from running his best.

“I had to carry another horse around the turn, there was a little bumping and shoving,” Desormeaux said. “That horse was trying to keep getting in my line and I was just trying to move forward in my line so I’d say that was the difference today.”

Both Lord Nelson and Texas Red earned zero qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, but Texas Red holds 12 overall points from winning the Juvenile and finishing third in the G1 Frontrunner Stakes last fall. Lord Nelson scored a 96 TimeformUS figure for his win. Baffert chose to play by ear Lord Nelson’s next start.

“We’re just trying to stay healthy … but I like what he did today,” said Baffert.

Keith Desormeaux sounded pleased with Texas Red’s effort against Lord Nelson and plans to ship his colt to Fair Grounds for their next prep race, the G2 Risen Star on Feb. 21.

“The pace was slow. They go faster for maiden 30s ($30,000), so you’d have seen a more visible cut if the pace was quicker,” Desormeaux told the press.

“Still, to do what he did, you can’t be disappointed.”

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