06/02/2005 12:00AM

Lord Nelson may have to work for it


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Strategy could play a big role in whether Lord Nelson wins the $45,000 John Longden 6000 at Hastings Saturday. There's not much doubt that Lord Nelson, a four-time older local champion, will be favored over the seven other horses that entered. It's also very likely he will finish in the money. After all, dating back to May 1, 2001, Lord Nelson has finished either first or second in 21 of his last 23 starts at Hastings.

If Lord Nelson, who is trained by Dino Condilenios, runs his best race in the 1 1/16-mile Longden, they aren't going to beat him. A couple of things could work against him, though. First, he's carrying 123 pounds, six more than the second highweight, Roscoe Pito. Also, he drew the rail. The rail is usually a good place to be at Hastings, especially going around three turns, but with the speedy Roscoe Pito in the field, Lord Nelson might be sent a little harder than usual to ensure that Roscoe Pito doesn't get away easily.

"I am going to send him away from there to make sure he gets a good position," said Lord Nelson's jockey, Frank Fuentes. "After that we'll see what happens."

If Roscoe Pito and Lord Nelson get carried away up front, the race could set up nicely for Illusive Force. A similar scenario was played out last year in the B.C. Cup Classic, where Illusive Force caught a noticeably tiring Lord Nelson in the last jump.

Kickboard will also appreciate a fast pace.