ELMONT, NY – In what amounted to a well-paid workout, Raymond Mamone’s Imperial Hint breezed free and easy on Saturday to take the Grade 1, $350,000 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park.
The Vosburgh is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Imperial Hint receiving an automatic berth in the TwinSpires Sprint at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 3.
Breaking well from post 6 as the 1/5 favorite under Javier Castellano, Imperial Hint took command and led through opening fractions of :22.09 and :44.37. Still under a tight hold as he exited the far turn, Imperial Hint began inching away while Castellano peeked back to check on his growing lead. Geared down in the final furlong, the Luis Carvajal, Jr., trainee crossed the wire in a final time of 1:08.27 for the 6-furlong sprint over the main track.
“He’s a very nice horse,” Castellano said. “You can do whatever you think; you can go to the lead, or come off the pace a little bit. Today, I felt he was the fastest horse. I tried to dictate the pace and control the race. He’s a special horse. We were looking for a little workout and looking for the big picture, the Breeders’ Cup. I just enjoyed the ride.”
Mr. Crow was all-out in the stretch trying in vain to catch the eventual winner, but he ultimately fell short and settled for second. Silver Ride necked out third over Sightforsoreeyes, while Still Krz, Maniacal, and Forge completed the order of finish.
Imperial Hint’s win was his third straight, his fourth in his last five starts, and improved his overall record to 18-12-2-0. The 5-year-old son of Imperialism increased his career bankroll to $1,402,655 and is headed to the Breeders’ Cup, where he was a close second in last year’s running.
“I think today was a lot of pressure,” said Carvajal, Jr. “The Breeders’ Cup, it’s nice to be there and I’d be happy to go again, but we know we’re going to face better competition. If he runs good, it’s a good thing; if he wins, that would be amazing; but I think today was more pressure than the Breeders’ Cup.”
Imperial Hint returned $2.40 to win and $2.10 to place, while Mr. Crow paid $3.90 to place. There was no show betting.