Imperial Hint, one of the top dirt sprinters in the world, is taking aim on Dubai and a chance at redemption on multiple levels. Two years ago, the son of Imperialism ventured across the world for the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1), but was scratched the week of the race with a fever. He also has a budding rivalry with two-time champion U.S. sprinter Roy H. Both of those itches can be scratched if the Luis Carvajal Jr. trainee succeeds in his second chance at a first Meydan impression on Mar. 30.
“Right now he's doing extremely well,” said trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. of the Raymond Mamone-owned 6-year-old. “If all goes well with his preparation, he will run on the 16th here at Tampa (Bay Downs in Florida). I have had to space out his works a little bit because he's ready to run and wants to go way too fast. I can't wait to run him here in Tampa. I'm more pleased to be here in the winter than last time when he prepped in the cold weather (in 2017).
“Dubai is our main goal and I hope we get there,” he continued. “It will be good because I think he will love the track and weather there. He does really likes hot weather, which is another reason we have him preparing in Florida. He really likes to train. We wanted to give him more time off after (finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Nov. 3), but it's not easy to do that and I wanted to keep an eye on him.”
The 12-time winner from 19 starts returned to the work tab on Jan. 3 and has had a trio of quick works in total, including a sparkling five-furlong work in 59 seconds flat on Jan. 26. He is slated to run in Tampa's $100,000 Pelican Stakes, a race that has attracted nominations from the likes of Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1)-placed World of Trouble, two-time Dubai Golden Shaheen runner-up X Y Jet and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Quip.
In the Breeders' Cup Sprint in November, he was the favorite over Roy H, but was unable to catch his rival, thus losing the race and his chance at a championship. In in the preceding months, he won four races, including the Vosburgh (G1) and Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) amid a season that immediately followed a tough runner-up loss in the Breeders' Cup Sprint of 2017 behind the same foe.
“The work was very impressive,” Carvajal said. “I just wanted to see what he would do and if he had slowed down a bit, but he was full of run. He wanted to do something and the jockey tried to hold him a little bit, but he really ran. When the jockey came back, he had a big smile.
“Sometimes you want to have an easy spot, but he's doing so good right now and I'd like to see him run against good horses like X Y Jet or World of Trouble before we head to Dubai. We want to beat the best of the best and hopefully we get a chance to run against Roy H again in Dubai. He's a nice horse and our horse is a nice horse. I'd like to get a chance to beat him.”
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