by Santa Anita Park Press Release
February 9, 2020
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2020) — Despite the fact he was making only his second start and was facing the reigning Eclipse Champion Juvenile Male, Bob Baffert’s Nadal was hammered down to 1-5 favoritism in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita and he responded with a gutty three quarter length win. Ridden by Joel Rosario, he got seven furlongs in a rapid 1:22.59.
Breaking sharply from post position four in a field of six sophomores, Nadal got early pressure from longshot Party Town to his inside and was seriously challenged to his outside around the far turn and to the sixteenth pole by a very tenacious Ginobili.
“Today, I told Joel, ‘Don’t get cute, just go,’” said Baffert, who registered his record 10th win in the iconic prep to the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. “‘We can rate him some other day.’ They took it to him, but if we’re gonna get beat, get beat. I trained him light for this, so this is my serious work…I thought he was gonna get beat. He got to gut it out today, so he’s got a good foundation now. This should set him up pretty good and I think we’ll go to the Rebel (Grade II, 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park March 14).”
A handy 3 ¾ length maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs here on Jan. 19, Nadal paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10.
Owned by George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman and Mark Mathiesen, Nadal, a Kentucky-bred colt by Blame who sold for $700,000 at the Fasig Tipton Florida March Selected 2-year-olds in Training Sale, is out of the Pulpit mare Ascending Angel. With the winner’s share of $120,000, he now has earnings of $153,000 while unbeaten in two starts.
For his part, Ginobili, who had been idle since running a close fourth in a five furlong turf stakes here on Oct. 6, ran a massive race in defeat, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of longshot Fast Enough. Ridden by Abel Cedillo, Ginobili, who is trained by Richard Baltas, was off at 12-1 and paid $6.00 and $4.00.
Last early, Fast Enough split horses turning for home and just held off Storm the Court by a neck for third money. Ridden by Tiago Pereira, Fast Enough was off at 14-1 and paid $3.60 to show.
Storm the Court, who had been idle since winning the Grade I Breeder’s Cup Juvenile here on Nov. 1, was the second choice at 3-1 and was beaten approximately 2 ½ lengths in a race that he likely needed.
Fractions on the race were 21.81, 44.09 and 1:09.05.
SAN VICENTE STAKES (GII) $200,000 QUOTES
JOEL ROSARIO, NADAL, WINNER: “He broke sharp and he handled the pressure from the outside. I was never worried about it. My horse was moving very well and I was confident because I could feel I had a lot of horse under me. He was very impressive. He ran very fast today and he runs like he’ll like two turns, but you never know until they do it.”
BOB BAFFERT, NADAL, WINNER: “Today, I told Joel, don’t get cute, just go. We can rate him some other day. They took it to him, but if we’re gonna get beat, get beat. I trained him light for this, so this is my serious work…I thought he was gonna get beat. He got to gut it out today, so he’s got a good foundation now. This should set him up pretty good and I think we’ll go to the Rebel (Grade II, 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park March 14).”
RICHARD BALTAS, GINOBILI, SECOND: “At the quarter pole, I thought I might get him. We’ve got a nice colt, I just don’t think he wants to go very far. He ran great and I’m very proud of him."
GEORGE BOLTON CO-OWNER, NADAL, WINNER: “I actually found out about Nadal through Kerri Radcliffe who bought the colt for us at the Fasig Tipton March sale a year ago. I think she bought a great horse for us and we hope Nadal is as proud of us as we are extremely proud of him today.
“It is a huge step up and when you go to the Paddock and you’re one to nine, you are thinking of all the downside in the world. There were some nice looking horses in the Paddock, the six (Ginobili) looked fast and was fast. He really had to go the whole way and never got a breather. Going further (in distance) should be fun for Nadal.
“This horse looks like it could be a special horse. You just want him to be happy and hold together. He will be on the road now. He’ll be on different surfaces and he’s going to go a different distance yet again, so he will go maybe go to the Rebel (Grade II, 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park March 14). I’m proud we got that chance. I’m extremely happy about everything that has happened here.”