06/28/2004 11:00PM

Lord Nelson figures to get winning trip

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Lord Nelson will face stiff opposition when he tries to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Lieutenant Governors' for the third straight year on Thursday at Hastings. Lord Nelson, who has been the best horse at Hastings for the past three years, will have his hands full with the speedy and classy Roscoe Pito breaking from the rail. The 123-pound high weight also will have to deal with two California shippers, Yougottawanna and Royal Place.

Also carded on a fine Canada Day program are the $75,000 Burnaby Breeders' Cup and the $40,000 Liberation, in which local sensation Regal Red figures to be a short-priced favorite.

Lord Nelson, who is owned and was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Russell Bennett, should get the trip. Roscoe Pito, Yougottawanna, and Royal Place all like to be in front, and Lord Nelson should be able to stalk what figures to be a lively battle up front. His trainer, Dino Condilenios, is pleased that Lord Nelson drew an outside post. He will be ridden by Frank Fuentes.

"The eight-hole is perfect," Condilenios said. "Frank should be able to get a good look at what's going on up front and he can decide what he wants to do from there."

According to Condilenios, the versatility of Lord Nelson is what makes him such a great horse. He was sent right to the front to win the 6 1/2-furlong George Royal on May 2, and sat just off of Celt to win the Hong Kong Jockey Club on May 23.

Yougottawanna, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, is coming off a front-running win in the Grade 3 Seabiscut Handicap May 31. That was his first start since being claimed for $80,000 out of a winning race by local owner and Hastings board member Peter Redekop.

According to assistant trainer and exercise rider Christie Wiebe, Yougottawanna shipped well, and doesn't appear to be having any trouble handling the tight turns at Hastings. Yougottawanna will be ridden by leading rider Pedro Alvarado, who will have to decide if he wants to battle with Roscoe Pito early or try to stalk.

Roscoe Pito, trained by John Snow, didn't show his usual zip in two sprints to start the year, but the 2003 local horse of the year got back on track with a decisive win in the 1 1/16-mile John Longden on June 12. Roscoe Pito has now won six straight route stake races and, because of his speed, will be very dangerous breaking from post 1.