Imperial Hint, Castellano shine on Florida Cup Day at Tampa Bay Downs

Via Tampa Bay Downs
March 25, 2018 07:39pm
Imperial Hint wins on Florida Cup Day at Tampa Bay (3-25-18)
Photo: Tampa Bay Downs

Before today’s $100,000 Florida Cup Horse Races NOW Sprint at Tampa Bay Downs, Luis Carvajal, Jr., experienced the uneasy feeling most trainers get after sending a 1-5 shot postward.

“Everybody said they were afraid of this horse because he finished second in the (TwinSpires) Breeders’ Cup Sprint, but it’s a horse race and we’ve seen favorites like mine get beat,” Carvajal said after Imperial Hint erased all fears with an easy-as-pie, 5-length victory under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano.

“You’re always a little nervous before a race like this, when you know you have the best horse and you don’t want to disappoint the public and the bettors. You love to see a (1-5) horse win that way,” Carvajal said.

Imperial Hint’s victory launched an outstanding day for Castellano, who became the first jockey to ride four Florida Cup Day stakes winners in a single afternoon. Castellano won five races on the card; only two jockeys have won more on a single Oldsmar program.

The Horse Races NOW Sprint, contested as the second race, was the feature attraction of Florida Cup Day XVI due to the presence of Imperial Hint. The Eclipse Award finalist won for the ninth time in 14 starts, with first-place money of $60,000 raising his career bankroll to $875,155.

Imperial Hint, who won the Florida Cup Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore two years ago in his second career start, was bred by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds and is owned by Raymond Mamone of New Jersey.

He is by Imperialism out of the Lahint daughter Royal Hint, a mare Mamone gave to Shade Tree owner Bert Pilcher after having difficulty getting her in foal. Mamone subsequently purchased Imperial Hint privately from Pilcher.

“So I bought my own horse back,” he said, laughing.

Five other $100,000 races were contested for registered Florida-breds; recaps of each race follow. A crowd of 5,425 attended on a comfortably warm, sunny afternoon.


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