A jaw-dropping display of brilliance over one of the most storied venues in racing was enough to launch the pocket rocket that is Imperial Hint into a top-10 position in this week's NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.
Trained by Luis Carvajal, Jr. for owner Raymond Mamone, Imperial Hint threw down an effort that stunned visually and resonated historically when he captured the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap by four lengths at Saratoga Race Course on July 27, setting a track record for six furlongs with a final clocking of 1:07.92.
That victory, the first for Imperial Hint since taking last year's Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes, earned the six-year-old son of Imperialism 109 points from voters, good enough for seventh on the latest rankings. In besting a field that included multiple grade 1 winner and fellow NTRA Poll member Mitole, Imperial Hint captured the Vanderbilt for a second consecutive year and reasserted himself as one of the most formidable forces within the depth-laden male sprinter ranks.
“To face Mitole, who is a great horse and winning all these Grade 1s, you need to be prepared. I thought my horse would run a good race, but I didn't expect him to win it the way he did it,” Carvajal, Jr. told NYRA's publicity team. “This little rocket, he keeps surprising me.”
His third-place run in the Vanderbilt snapped a seven-race win streak, but Mitole still garnered 2 first-place votes and 198 total points in dropping from second to fifth overall in the NTRA Poll.
Less than two weeks out from his expected run in the Grade 1 Arlington Million, the Chad Brown-trained Bricks and Mortar (36 first-place votes, 405 points) continues his reign in the No. 1 position. The multiple Grade 1-winning son of Giant's Causeway most recently worked five furlongs over the turf training track at Saratoga in 1:01.58 on July 28.
Top distaffer Midnight Bisou (3 first-place votes, 318 points) moves up one spot this week to take over the No. 2 spot from her stablemate Mitole with expected Grade 1 Whitney Stakes contender McKinzie (268 points) moving up to third.
Multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter World of Trouble (202 points) is now fourth, just ahead of Mitole. Reigning champion turf female Sistercharlie (IRE) (182 points) holds in sixth followed by Imperial Hint and Maximum Security (90), the only 3-year-old in the top 10.
Grade 1 winner Seeking the Soul (73 points) is ninth with two-time Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow (IRE) (71) completing the top 10. Like McKinzie, Thunder Snow is also slated to start in this weekend's Whitney Stakes.
The Top Thoroughbred Poll wraps up November 4 after the running of the Breeders' Cup.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred polls are the sport's most comprehensive surveys of experts. Every week eligible journalists and broadcasters cast votes for their top 10 horses, with points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. All horses that have raced in the U.S., are in training in the U.S., or are known to be pointing to a major event in the U.S. are eligible for the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.
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