TrainerLuis Carvajal Jr.
BreederShade Tree Thoroughbreds Inc
It is a rare occasion when Imperial Hint isn’t the smallest equine athlete on the track. It’s an even more exceptional occurrence when the diminutive son of Imperialism exits a race without reminding pundits why he is such a massive force within his depth-laden ranks.
The oft-proclaimed ‘Little rocket’ has been a powder keg for trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. and owner Raymond Mamone throughout his career, posting multiple top-level wins and a pair of placings in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). With another try at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on his agenda for 2019, Imperial Hint has been taking a similar path in his quest to secure the ultimate bragging rights in a division that is one of the pound-for-pound best in Thoroughbred racing.
Purchased privately by Mamone as a 2-year-old, Imperial Hint has only been off the board four times in 22 starts and has again showcased his reliability and brilliance in this his 6-year-old season. After capping his 2018 campaign with a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, he posted another show effort during his seasonal bow in the Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs February 16. That outing served as a prep for a trip overseas for the Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (G1), a race he had missed the year prior due to illness.
Though he would have to settle for bronze honors once more in the Golden Shaheen, Imperial Hint returned in the summer and delivered arguably his most visually stunning effort ever when defending his title in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) at Saratoga in July.
Facing an overwhelming favorite in fellow Grade 1 winner Mitole, Imperial Hint erased any doubt that his best turn of foot was behind him as he cruised under the wire four lengths in front and set a new track record in the process.
“He's an amazing horse," jockey Javier Castellano said after the Vanderbilt. “It's very impressive. He did this last year in the same race. It's unbelievable. He's a very good horse and I always have a lot of confidence in him. He's a little horse with a big heart. He's not a huge horse, but he has a lot of talent.”
When Imperial Hint won the 2018 edition of the Vanderbilt, it marked the first grade 1 victory for himself, his trainer, and his owner. Bred in Florida by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, he has already been the horse of a lifetime for the hands-on Carvajal, who operates a small stabled based out of Monmouth Park.
“Imperial Hint deserves all the credit. He's not a big-sized horse and he doesn't have the perfect pedigree, but he's all heart,” Carvajal said. “It's amazing what this animal can make you feel. We have a small stable and for something like this to happen to me, at 47-years-old, it's hard to believe.”
|February 29, 2020||Saudia Cup Sprint||KING ABDULAZIZ RACECOURSE||12|
- October 23, 2019
McKinzie, Code of Honor, Midnight Bisou, Bricks and Mortar and Magical Lead 188 Horses Pre-Entered for 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships
Led by Whitney (G1) winner McKinzie, Travers Stakes (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Code of Honor, standout filly Midnight Bisou, multiple Grade 1-winning turf star Bricks and Mortar, and Qipco Champions Stakes (G1) winner Magical (IRE), 188 horses, including 47 from overseas, have been pre-entered for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
- October 28, 2019
McKinzie, Midnight Bisou and Bricks and Mortar Lead Cast of 168 Horses Entered in 36th Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Friday and Saturday
Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s McKinzie has been installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in a field of 11 3-year-olds and up for Saturday’s $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) to be run at 1 ¼ miles on the main track, the climax of the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championship races to be run Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
- December 20, 2019
A relatively quiet weekend of racing will become heated when Imperial Hint and X Y Jet clash in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, December 21. The seven-furlong contest pits the two speedsters against four rivals, and goes as the tenth of an 11-race card. It can be viewed live on TVG.