SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Making it look almost too easy, Imperial Hint dominated in Saturday’s Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga. This was Imperial Hint’s third victory in four starts this year and brings him to eleven wins in his seventeen career starts.
From the first seconds of the race, it was clear that there was a ton of speed as Done Deal and Mr. Crow shot up to the front with the speedy Switzerland close by on the rail. Meanwhile, Imperial Hint sat a comfortable fourth as they set blazing fractions of :21.70, :44.39, and :56.24. As they hit the turn, it was Switzerland that claimed the lead, but Imperial Hint was ready to make his move. With hardly any motivation from jockey Javier Castellano, Imperial Hint put the pedal to the medal and exploded past the rest of the field. Castellano did nothing but hold on tight as Imperial Hint cruised to an almost four-length victory with Warrior’s Club finishing second followed by Sweetontheladies in third.
After the race, jockey Castellano had nothing but praise for Imperial Hint, “It basically was an easy ride. I have to give all the credit to the trainer, Luis Carvajal, for the way he has been training to hold him and taking a lot of patience with the horse and picking the right place for the horse. I basically enjoyed the ride with the horse and I think lately the horse is more relaxed…I could have opened up by ten, but he is a great horse and I enjoyed the ride.”
Although Imperial Hint has done little other than win in his career, his victory today was his first career grade 1 victory.
“When he runs, I always expect him to do this well.,” said trainer Luis Carvajal. “Winning here at Saratoga, this kind of race, it’s my first Grade 1 for me [and] my owner [Raymond Mamone]. It’s just fantastic. I have a good group of people who work with me and I can’t put into words how happy I feel.”
Imperial Hint returned $3.60 to win, $2.70 to place, and $2.40 to show. Warrior’s Club brought back $5.00 to place and $3.60 to show, while Sweetontheladies paid $5.60 to show.