10/06/2016 12:00PM

Lord Nelson towers over rivals in Santa Anita Sprint Championship

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Benoit & Associates
Lord Nelson will be favored to stretch his winning streak to four races in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Saturday may have the shortest-priced favorite of the track’s autumn meeting.

California Chrome paid $2.80 when he won the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes on Oct. 1, and Lord Nelson could be lower odds against four rivals in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.

The six-furlong race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering a fees-paid berth for the BC Sprint here on Nov. 5. Lord Nelson, trained by Bob Baffert, earned a position in the BC Sprint with his win in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar in late July, his most recent start.

Lord Nelson has won his last three starts, a streak that began with an optional claimer June 3 and continued in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Stakes at seven furlongs here June 25. Owned by Spendthrift Farm, Lord Nelson has won 6 of 12 starts and earned $778,271.

There have been high expectations from the start of his career, Baffert said.

“He was cut out to be a good horse and had a setback,” Baffert said. “He needed some time off.”

Lord Nelson will be ridden by Flavien Prat. He was aboard Lord Nelson for the first time in the Bing Crosby, where the 4-year-old colt closed from third in a field of eight to win by four lengths, running six furlongs in 1:07.65.

None of the other entrants in Saturday’s race are stakes winners this year, although Cautious Giant was third in two Grade 2 sprints here – the Palos Verdes and Kona Gold stakes.

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Santa Anita Sprint Championship, Race 4

KEY CONTENDERS

Lord Nelson, by Pulpit

Last 3 Beyers: 107-100-100

◗ Lord Nelson has proven most effective racing from off the race, often within one or two lengths of the lead. Typical of a Baffert-trained runner, Lord Nelson has had quick recent workouts, including six furlongs from the gate in 1:12.80 on Sept. 26.

◗ Baffert said the Santa Anita Sprint Championship can give Lord Nelson a vital start before the $1.5 million BC Sprint.

“We need to be ready on Nov. 5,” Baffert said. “This can keep him sharp.”

Jazzy Times, by Discreetly Mine

Last 3 Beyers: 101-92-84

◗ This will be the stakes debut for Jazzy Times, who is trained by Baffert for Zayat Stables. Jazzy Times has won twice in four starts and is expected to set the pace.

◗ Jazzy Times led throughout an optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on July 31, drawing off to win by 6 1/2 lengths in his most recent start. Jazzy Times won his debut at Churchill Downs on May 7, going 6 1/2 furlongs.

Cautious Giant, by Giant’s Causeway

Last 3 Beyers: 90-98-67

◗ Cautious Giant has not raced since finishing seventh behind Lord Nelson in the Triple Bend. A closer, Cautious Giant ran well in the spring, notably a third by 1 1/2 lengths to Wild Dude in the Kona Gold Stakes on May 21.