08/20/2005 12:00AM

Fave 'Horatio' wins Futurity


Horatio Nelson maintained his undefeated record with a handy victory in the Group 2, $150,000 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.

A 2-year-old Danehill colt, Horatio Nelson ran out a 2 1/2-length winner as the 1-5 choice in the seven-furlong race, giving the 28-1 longshot and runner-up Galantas no chance.

With Kieren Fallon aboard, Horatio Nelson prompted the pace and led at the three-sixteenths pole, a slight reversal of the front-running tactics employed in his first two victories. The time on good ground was a quick 1:23.32.

Horatio Nelson, who had previously won the seven-furlong Group 3 Superlative Stakes at Sandown Park, is now 3 for 3. While Horatio Nelson was beating little on Saturday, there is reason to believe he continues to improve. Violani, who trailed home last of five in the Futurity, seven lengths behind, had been just one length behind the winner in a seven-furlong Curragh maiden on June 24.

Aidan O'Brien, who trains Horatio Nelson, also has the highly rated 2-year-olds George Washington and Ivan Denisovich in his yard. O'Brien won the Futurity for the fifth time in the last seven years.

He will point Horatio Nelson to a Group 1 race for his next start, possibly the seven-furlong National Stakes at the Curragh on Sept. 18.

In the meantime, both Corals and Ladbrokes have listed the Horatio Nelson winner as a 12-1 favorite for next year's Epsom Derby.