Prevailing over two older stakes-winning males – including a 2017 champion – in a three-way stretch battle in Trinidad’s Group 1 NLCB Gold Cup at Santa Rosa on December 26, 3-year-old NUCLEAR POWER scored her first stakes victory, as the MISSION IMPAZIBLE filly beat seven stakes-winning rivals in her first 2,000-meter effort. Nuclear Power has won or placed in all six of her starts (all on dirt) for owner Shivam Maharaj, including a Group 3 Santa Rosa September sprint, but in the Gold Cup (about 1¼ miles), she indicated she was finally learning to relax. The gray Kentucky-bred reportedly is the first filly to win the NLCB Gold Cup – Trinidad’s premier racing event – in 17 years.
Favored at even money in the NLCB Gold Cup was the winner of the 2016 and 2017 renewals of the event – always held the day after Christmas – who also was Trinidad’s Horse of the Year for both those years. Setting the early pace was another Trinidad champion (2017 best male), who blew the first turn and was responsible for Nuclear Power going six-wide (widest of all) before he regained the lead on the backstretch. Despite being carried wide, Nuclear Power was always in contention and eventually gained command and angled over to the rail on the latter half of the second turn. She was headed in mid-stretch by another stakes-winning older male and looked like she might place a close and creditable third, but she pushed her head back in front and reached the wire leading by a neck, with her two closest pursuers almost in a dead heat. There were multiple-length margins back to the other finishers.
Nuclear Power went through three auctions prior to going to Trinidad – as a Keeneland weanling in November of 2015, a Fasig-Tipton yearling in October of 2016, and an Ocala Breeders’ Sales 2-year-old in April of 2017 – bringing increased prices as both a yearling and a juvenile. She won her debut in February of 2018 at Santa Rosa by an open margin over seven rivals – 3-year-olds and up and most of them males – going 1,750 meters (about 55 yards short of 1 1/8 miles). In four subsequent 2018 starts on fast and wet Santa Rosa tracks and at various distances, Nuclear Power placed second twice and third twice, including the Group 3 Carib Brand Diamond Stakes at 1,350 meters (about 55 yards short of seven furlongs). She appeared better than ever at 2,000 meters.
Nuclear Power was among five winners and three stakes winners to represent Mission Impazible in December of 2018.