SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.--Imperil Hint, who is based in New Jersey at Monmouth Park and rehabed at the Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center for a couple of months this year, won the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes and broke the 6 furlong track record at Saratoga on July 27.
Making only his third start of the year and his first since finishing third in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai in March, multiple G1 winner Imperial Hint successfully defended his title in the G1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt.
Following the race in Dubai and long, hard plane and van rides on the way home, Imperial Hint was sent to the Fair Hill Center in early April to recuperate, and he didn't post a work until June 15, a long rest that obviously rejuvenated the 6-year-old stallion.
Imperial Hint, breaking from post 3 at odds of 5-1 and carrying 123 pounds with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano in the irons, tracked from third position as 1-2 post-time favorite Mitole and Strike Power battled up front, with the latter marking the opening quarter-mile in 21.77 seconds on the fast main track.
MAKING A sweeping three-wide move, Imperial Hint overtook the pair in front to mark the half in 44.21 and extended away to best the six-horse field by four lengths at the wire.
He completed the six-furlong distance in a final time of 1:07.92, beating the previous track record for the distance of 1:08.04 held by Spanish Riddle and Speightstown.
"He's an amazing horse," said Castellano. "He did it again. 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.
"I knew they were going pretty quick early in the first part of the race. I had a perfect position in the race tracking them. Turning for home, the way he did it was very impressive. He wanted to go. He was feeling good and gave me everything he had today."
Returning $13.60 for a $2 win wager, the 6-year-old son of Imperialism bred by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds boosted his career earnings to over $2 million with the victory to total $2,034,155 for winning owner Raymond Mamone and trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr.
His now has 22 career starts with 13 wins,10 in stakes and three in G1 stakes, two seconds and three thirds.
"I got to give credit to owner Raymond Mamone," said Carvajal, Jr. "He had a feeling that he was going to do well in this race, even though we thought he was a little short because we lost a week of training with the weather back in New Jersey, but he was right. This horse keeps surprising me and surprising everybody.
"We were worried a little bit. Mitole is a very nice horse," said Carvajal. "He won all of those races in a row [seven]. It's an amazing feeling. I couldn't believe what was going on around the turn, but he's a really good horse. He has a lot of heart. He doesn't have a big body, but he has a lot of heart."
Charging with a late rally, 29-1 longshot Diamond Oops beat Mitole for second, finishing 3 ½ lengths ahead of the beaten favorite. Firenze Fire came in fourth followed by Strike Power and Do Share.
"The track inside wasn't too good for us with the post [No. 1] and the weight [125 lbs]," said Ricardo Santana, Jr., rider aboard Mitole. "My horse ran hard. He's a hard-trying horse. I just took my chance, but we'll see him in the next race."
GRAHAM MOTION, based at Fair Hill Training Center, saddled Hillwood Stables LLC and Richard L. Golden's Majestic Reason, ridden by Jorge Vargas, to win a $45,000 Allowance Optional Claiming 6 furlong race at Laurel on July 26.
Bred in Maryland by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds, the 4-year-old filly raced close to the pace, swung four wide entering the stretch and, hand-ridden to the wire, won by 3 3/4 lengths.
On July 24, Motion saddled Albert Frassetto's Candy Store, ridden by Antonio Gallardo, to win a $30,100 Maiden Special Weight race at 1 mile, 70 yards at Presque Isle.
Racing mid-pack until the last turn, Candy Store was three wide into the stretch, made a steady gain and just got up to win by 3/4 length.
Bernie Houghton had a one-two finish in an $18,498, 6 furlong Maiden Claiming race at Penn National on July 27.
HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC's homebred 3-year-old filly Sunny Holly hit the door leaving the gate, moved two wide on the turn and opened her lead under a hand ride to win by 2 1/4 lengths.
Houghton also saddle Fountain Springs Stable's Giggle N Grins to place second by 7 lengths.
Michael Matz saddled Roy D. Gottlieg's Dah Philly to win a $16,545 Claiming race at 1 mile at Laurel on July 27.
The 3-year-old filly saved ground while rating behind a speed duel. moved up through a hole and into the lead in the stretch to win by 3/4 length,