Imperial Hint to 'turn the page' in Gulfstream's Mr. Prospector

Gulfstream Park Communications
November 21, 2019 01:38pm

Raymond Mamone’s multi-millionaire Imperial Hint, forced to scratch from the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, is being pointed to make his return in the Grade 3, $100,000 Mr. Prospector on Dec. 21 at Gulfstream Park.

The seven-furlong Mr. Prospector for 3-year-olds and up comes on the fourth Saturday of Gulfstream’s 2019-2020 Championship Meet, the country’s premier winter Thoroughbred meet set to open its 89-day stand Friday, Nov. 29.


“There are a couple of races up north, but I really don’t want to ship the horse back up north for one race,” Tampa-based trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. said. “I think [the Mr. Prospector] is the right spot, even though it’s seven furlongs and not three-quarters. He has won before going seven-eighths and the horse is doing great right now, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem. He has won before at Gulfstream Park, and I think he will like the track there, too.”


Imperial Hint won the six-furlong Smile Sprint (G2) at Gulfstream in 2017 and earned an automatic bid to the Breeders’ Cup, in which he finished second in the Sprint. The 6-year-old son of Imperialism has gone on to win four Grade 1 races, including back-to-back runnings of the A.G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga.


“He hasn’t changed much. I know that was a couple years ago, but the horse is doing great. The only difference is the seven-eighths of a mile,” Carvajal said. “He needs to run. He was ready to run at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, so he’s set up for a race. The only chance I have to run him before the end of this year is the Mr. Prospector.”


On the morning of the Sprint, where he figured to be one of the race favorites, Imperial Hint was scratched by veterinarians at Santa Anita after developing a blister on the coronet band of his left front hoof. He soon returned to Carvajal’s winter base at Tampa Bay Downs, were he returned to the work tab with a half-mile breeze in 46.80 seconds Monday, the fastest of 27 horses.


“I was really happy with the work. Most of the time he works as good in the morning as he runs in the afternoon. He came out of it in good order,” Carvajal said. “I’d like to turn the page. Unfortunately they scratched the horse, but I do understand. They were being very strict and I think they were doing the right thing.


“Knowing the horse for so long and the way he was training, I think he was in good shape and 100 percent to run but he had a little irritation of the coronet band that the vet didn’t like. It was like a little skin irritation,” he added. “I thought it was a little odd to scratch a horse because of that. I was ready for Imperial Hint to run a great race. He trained great those days I was there at Santa Anita. The horse came back from Santa Anita good and has trained good and worked good, so I’m just looking forward to the next race.”


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