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Imperative Flying Under the Radar

If Imperative wins the Santa Anita Handicap, it could prove a bane to headline writers.

Imperative is trained by George Papaprodromou, whose last name is a challenge for any spell check program. Not only is it the longest last name of the 198 trainers listed in Santa Anita’s current condition book, it is the only one with five syllables.

But by a name of any length, George Papaprodromou and the gelding he claimed for $50,000 last Dec. 21 had been flying under the radar until Imperative ran the race of his life, missing a 26-1 upset by a half-length in the Grade II San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 8.

A son of one of the nation’s premier stallions in Bernardini, Imperative will attempt to prove his game San Antonio performance was no fluke when he tackles alpha handicap stars Mucho Macho Man, Will Take Charge and Game On Dude in the Santa Anita Handicap.

“I liked the way he was bred,” Papaprodromou said in explaining his reasons for claiming the 4-year-old bay. “I always wanted to get a Bernardini. Imperative came up in a claiming race for 50 (thousand), I called up my owner (Kenji Morinaga of Arcadia, who campaigns as KM Racing Enterprise, Inc.), and we went for it. We took a shot.” Imperative earned $60,000 for finishing second in the San Antonio.

Bernardini, who stands for $100,000 live foal at Darley, on the Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., has sired 12 graded stakes winners in his first two crops, 11 winning Group or Graded races at ages two and three, more than any stallion in history.

“Imperative ran a great race and came out of the race great,” said the 37-year-old Papaprodromou, who has been training for 11 years, and came up under his father, Andreas, now a septuagenarian living on his farm in Cypress.

”The horse is in top form right now and we’re just hoping he runs another big race like he did in the San Antonio.”

Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard in the San Antonio, will be back on Imperative for the Big ’Cap, which he won in 2002 aboard Milwaukee Brew for the late Bobby Frankel, and was disqualified from first on The Wicked North in 1994.

 

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