‘Little Horse With A Big, Big Heart’: Imperial Hint’s Connections Celebrate First Grade 1

by | 07.29.2018 | 3:23pm
Imperial Hint scored his first Grade 1 victory in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt

Raymond Mamone's Imperial Hint exited his 3 ¾-length victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in good order and has headed back to his home base at Parx Racing, said trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr. on Sunday morning.

“He came out of it well and finished all his dinner. Everything is good,” said Carvajal.

The Vanderbilt was the first Grade 1 and the second straight stakes win for the Florida-bred millionaire by Imperialism, who posted a neck score earlier this summer in the Grade 2 True North on June 8 at Belmont Park.

In the Vanderbilt, Imperial Hint carried the field's 124-pound highweight under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who confidently guided the 5-year-old through a wide charge in the turn and wrapped up on Imperial Hint under the wire. Imperial Hint's winning time of 1:08.98 for six furlongs was .94 seconds off Speightstown's track record set in the 2004 Vanderbilt.

“I got to watch the race this morning a little more relaxed than I was yesterday,” Carvajal said. “I like to see what the other horses did and how the race developed. I like to look at different angles, not just my horse. I think that Javier let the race develop in front of him. Javier was the main thing, I think. He just made all the right decisions. The way he did it just gives me goosebumps every time I see it.

“He's a little horse with a big, big heart,” he added. “The way he did it was awesome. I don't know what he would've done if Javier had asked him the last eighth of a mile. It's a great feeling to win a Grade 1 for Imperial Hint, for my owner, and for myself. It was special to do it at Saratoga, too.”

Carvajal said he's likely to skip the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego at seven furlongs on August 25, preferring the Grade 3 Frank De Francis Memorial Dash on September 15 at Laurel Park or the Grade 1, $350,000 Vosburgh on September 29 at Belmont, a Breeders' Cup qualifier for the Sprint on November 3. The De Francis and Vosburgh are both at six furlongs.

“I always like to give him around seven weeks between races, so I think we'll pass the Forego,” he said. “[His next start] could be in Maryland or in New York. I just have to consider the time frame between the Vosburgh and the Breeders' Cup if we get to go. The Vosburgh would give me about four weeks before the Breeders' Cup and the one in Maryland would give me about seven weeks.

“I like the timeframe of running in Maryland, but the race in New York pulls me in a little bit because it's a 'Win and You're In,'” Carvajal continued. “We'll see how everything plays out and we'll make a decision in a few weeks.”

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