News and STORIES

Nadal Takes San Vicente At Santa Anita

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Wednesday February 12, 2020
It was only a few weeks ago that 3-year-old Nadal was breaking his maiden on debut. Now, he returned to the Santa Anita Park dirt and scored the $200,500 San Vicente Stakes (G2) on Sunday. 

With Joel Rosario as jockey, Nadal broke from post 4 and ran fast early. He fought with frontrunners Ginobili and Party Town before settling in second on the rail. Ginobili took the lead four-wide from the break and set fractions of :21.81 and :44.09 through the half-mile. 

He was pressed constantly by Nadal, who was running just off the rail behind the leader.

As they made their way off the turn and into the top of the stretch, Nadal and Ginobili, who was guided by Abel Cedillo, fought along the rail. They pressed the pace as Nadal began to move forward slowly, and he was even with Ginobili at the sixteenth pole. 

Nadal, pushed ahead by Rosario, moved his head in front in mid-stretch and went further as they got closer to the wire. Ginobili tried to fend off Nadal but was unable to, and he fell three-quarters of a length short at the wire. 

The final time was 1:22.59 for the seven-furlong sprint on a fast track. 

"He broke sharp, and he handled the pressure from the outside," said Rosario. "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."

Ginobili in Second 

Ginobili was able to hold on and finish second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Fast Enough in third. Storm the Court, winner of the TVG Breeders Cup Juvenile (G1), finished fourth ahead of Ra'ad and Party Town to complete the order of finish. 

"Today, I told Joel, don't get cute, just go. We can rate him some other day," said Bob Baffert, trainer of Nadal on behalf of George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman, and Mark Mathiesen. "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 (G2, March 14 at Oaklawn Park)."

Nadal's Connections

Nadal was bred in Kentucky by Sierra Farm, and he is the second foal out of the Pulpit mare Ascending Angel. The son of Blame was purchased for $700,000 by bloodstock agent Kerri Radcliffe from the consignment of Randy Bradshaw to The Gulfstream Sale, Fasig-Tipton's select sale of 2-year-olds in training. 

"I actually found out about Nadal through Kerri Radcliffe, who bought the colt for us at the Fasig-Tipton March sale a year ago," said owner Bolton. "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 1-9, you are thinking of all the downside in the world. 

"There were some nice looking horses in the paddock, the 6 (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. I'm proud we got that chance. I'm extremely happy about everything that has happened here."

Nadal's first two starts have brought in $153,000.