09/27/2002 12:00AM

Lord Nelson has rivals over barrel


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - With no other speed in the race and all four of his competitors winless this year, Lord Nelson looks like an absolute standout in the $35,000 1 1/8-mile Sir Winston Churchill Handicap Sunday at Hastings Park.

Futural, who finished first in last year's Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup but was disqualified, looks like the main contender to Lord Nelson. But Futural hasn't hit the board since finishing third in an allowance race at Santa Anita Feb. 9. Diglett, Colonel Secretary, and American Justice round out the five-horse field.

Lord Nelson has won two of his three starts at the Hastings meet, and in his last outing he finished out of the money in the Longacres Mile. Lord Nelson had done all of his racing at Hastings Park before to shipping to Emerald Downs for the Mile, and according to his trainer, Dino Condilenios, he didn't handle his new environment very well.

"He was fine in the mornings but when we took him over to get saddled in the Mile, he got very nervous," he said. "By the time he left the paddock, he was soaking wet, and I knew we didn't have much of a chance."

Condilenios likes the way Lord Nelson is coming up to Sunday's race and was very happy with his sensational five-furlong move in 58.60 seconds last Saturday.

"He's had foot problems all year and I wanted a good work out of him to make sure that they've completely healed," he said. "He came out of the work in great shape so I'm pretty confident he'll run a big race."

Frank Fuentes rides Lord Nelson.

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