Imperial Hint makes triumphant return to competition in Smile Sprint

HorseRacingNation.com
July 01, 2017 02:12pm
Imperial Hint wins 2017 Smile Sprint
Photo: Gulfstream Park

Raymond Mamone’s Imperial Hint, coming off an illness that cost him a start in Dubai and left him unraced since mid-February, made a triumphant return to competition with a dominating victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
 
The six-furlong Smile Sprint was the last of seven stakes, three graded, worth $1 million on a spectacular 14-race Summit of Speed program. As a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ event, Imperial Hint earned an all-fees-paid trip to the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) in November.
 
Imperial Hint ($3.20), sent off as the 3-5 favorite in a field of eight that included defending champion Delta Bluesman and multiple graded stakes winner Awesome Banner, completed the distance in 1:09.23 over a fast main track to win by 4 ¾ lengths.
 
It was the fourth consecutive victory and second straight in a graded stakes for Imperial Hint, a 4-year-old son of Imperialism that captured the seven-furlong General George (G3) Feb. 18 at Laurel Park in his most recent start. The win earned him a trip to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen (G1) March 26, but he developed pneumonia shortly after arriving and was unable to start.
 
The normally front-running Imperial Hint found himself behind horses under Hall of Fame-elect jockey Javier Castellano as Awesome Banner was sent to the lead by Edgard Zayas and was in front through fractions of 22.31 seconds and 44.96. Awesome Banner drifted off the rail enough rounding the far turn to leave space for Imperial Hint, who slipped through the opening and powered down the stretch.
 
Awesome Banner ran well to be second, 2 ¾ lengths ahead of 99-1 long shot Very Very Stella. It was another length back to Delta Bluesman in fourth.     
 
Smile Sprint (G3) Quotes
 
Trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. (Imperial Hint): “It was awesome. I knew he was doing really good, and I wanted to see him win like this. He’d been training super. I was very confident coming into this race.”

“We don’t have plans. It could be Saratoga, but we’ll go back to the barn and see how he came back and make plans from there.”

“It was very disappointing not being able to compete over there [Dubai], but at the same time it was a good experience. It might have helped him out in the end to give him time to refresh.”
 
Jockey Javier Castellano (Imperial Hint): “I had a plan already before the race. Luis and I spoke before and handicapped the race and we thought [Awesome Banner and Delta Bluesman] would go to the lead. The outside horses put a good pace in the race and for my horse worked out perfectly. I got a little concerned when I asked my horse, he was right at the heels of the horse in front and it took me a little while to settle in and we weren’t in the best path. But finally we switched off the bridle and went through on the rail nice and easy in the tiniest path. I loved the way he finished. He’s a nice horse, I think he’s going to improve a lot.”

Source: Gulfstream Park

 

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