RAFAEL BEJARANO, LORD NELSON, WINNER: “I had a perfect trip. He broke a little slow but then he took off and I was able to find position right away. I knew (Serbian Syclone, Jazzy Josh and Sir Samson) were going to have speed so I let them go and tried to save ground around the turn. I let him go once we were clear and I knew at the five-eighths pole. Texas Red was the horse to beat and I was waiting for him. When he came to us I let him (Lord Nelson) go and my horse took off again.”
KENT DESORMEAUX, TEXAS RED, SECOND: “It was a tough beat because he flew home. I had to carry another horse around the turn, there was a little bumping and shoving. That horse was trying to keep getting in my line and I was just trying to move forward in my line so I’d say that was the difference today.
“He had a real rally at the end. The pace wasn’t much so they had something left. He was trying to catch horses with gas in the tank still.
“There’s no love lost here.”
BOB BAFFERT, LORD NELSON, WINNER: “I was concerned with the one hole, but they were going easy and he was behind them. I thought they were going slow and he’s a fast horse, but Rafael’s been working him and he knows the horse really well.
“He had him going nice and easy and he went wide and looked like he was sort of hanging. I saw the Desormeaux horse (Texas Red) coming up the rail and I thought, ‘Well, he’s (Lord Nelson) gone.’ But he sort of kicked back in.
“We’ll play it by ear (as to his next race). We’re just trying to stay healthy . . . but I like what he did today. Coming up to the race he was really training well, but sometimes they’ll do that and won’t run. But he ran like he’d been working.”
KEITH DESORMEAUX, TEXAS RED, SECOND: Outside of not winning, did he get what he needed? “Oh, absolutely. It’s a little disappointing, you know, ’cause it’s so close to winning, but the long-term goal is well within reach.
“The pace was slow. They go faster for maiden 30s ($30,000), so you’d have seen a more visible cut if the pace was quicker. Still, to do what he did, you can’t be disappointed.
“Right now, the plans are still as I’ve been saying. He’s probably going to go to the Risen Star (at the Fair Grounds, Feb. 21, Grade II, 1 1/16 miles) and then we’ll come back for the Santa Anita Derby on April 4.”
NOTES: The winning owner is John Fort of Camden, South Carolina, who races as Peachtree Stable.