We have been fans of Lord Nelson since before his retirement to stud, and although breeding to a stallion during the year that his first 2YOs will run always carries with it some risk, we think that Lord Nelson has a big chance to make it and offers outstanding value at his $10,000 live foal fee for 2021 — we’re excited to be able to send Wild For Love his way.
A $340,000 Keeneland September yearling, Lord Nelson broke his maiden first time out in July of his 2-year-old season, going 5 furlongs at Del Mar, back when that track had an all-weather surface. He stretched all the way out to 1-1/16 miles in Grade 1 company for his second start two months later, in which he came home 4th behind American Pharoah and Texas Red in the FrontRunner. Shortened back up to 6 furlongs, he romped by more than six lengths in the Speakeasy Stakes, then closed out his juvenile campaign with a 5th-place finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club.
Lord Nelson’s sophomore debut saw him out-kick Texas Red to win the Grade 2 San Vicente at 7 furlongs, and he also finished 2nd in the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes that spring, sandwiched between 4th-place finishes in the Grade 2 San Felipe and Grade 3 Pat Day Mile. Lord Nelson went missing that summer, eventually returning to the races with a 3rd behind Runhappy in the Grade 1 Malibu at 7 furlongs off more than a six-month layoff. Off for another six months after that – during which time he was purchased by Spendthrift Farm – Lord Nelson returned as a 4-year-old and reeled off four wins in four starts: (1) a 6-furlong allowance over Grade 3 winner Ocho Ocho Ocho in 1:07.94, (2) the Grade 1 Triple Bend in 1:21.04 for 7 furlongs, (3) the Grade 1 Bing Crosby by four lengths in 1:07.65 for 6 furlongs (a new stakes record at Del Mar), and (4) the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship at 6 furlongs. Unfortunately, Lord Nelson had to scratch from the Breeders’ Cup Sprint two days prior to the race when a small cut on his leg became infected, and he subsequently retired to Spendthrift. He was an Eclipse Award finalist for both Champion Sprinter and Champion Older Dirt Male in 2016.
Although his stud career got off to a delayed start, Lord Nelson has nonetheless covered full books of mares in each of his first three seasons at stud (even if “full” in this case is closer to 130 than the 200+ Spendthrift gets to some of its stallions, due to Lord Nelson’s feet following his laminitis scare stemming from that career-ending injury). And his first crop has looked the part — 39 sold (of 49 offered) for an average of over $80,000, including individuals for $460,000, $325,000, $220,000, $185,000, $170,000, etc. Early word out of Ocala is that his 2YOs are impressing, so hopefully that bodes well.
Physically, whereas Wild For Love is a pretty, well-balanced, medium-sized mare, Lord Nelson has significantly more leg and scope to him than you would typically expect for a top-class sprinter — a pairing which we think should blend together nicely.
These two also look likely to work well together pedigree-wise. Not For Love is the broodmare sire of Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome by a Pulpit son, and Pulpit’s formerly Pennsylvania-based son El Padrino has sired Maryland Million Sprint winner Taco Supreme out of a Not For Love mare as well. Wild For Love also has already had a knockout foal by a Pulpit grandson, which didn’t dissuade us from trying this match. It’s also interesting to note that while Lord Nelson and Wild For Love were both very fast horses, and this foal will be inbred 4x4x3 to the speed influence Mr. Prospector, it will also be 5×5 to the much stouter Buckpasser, who you don’t always see that close-up in pedigrees anymore.
Regardless of what proves to be its best distance, we think this mating has every right to produce a successful Maryland-bred runner!
Lord Nelson wins the G1 Bing Crosby
Lord Nelson wins the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship
Lord Nelson wins the G1 Triple Bend