Imperial Hint has proven in the 2018 season that he is dominant horse in the United States over six furlongs. Luis Carvajal Jr’s charge has been outstanding, delivering three victories over the course of the campaign, but will have to raise the level of his performance to clinch the Breeders’ Cup Sprint crown.
There will be talented horses amongst the field that will be determined to knock off Imperial Hint. However, the five-year-old has proven to have the quality and the endurance to beat out his rivals on a consistent basis throughout the term. Roy H could be the competitor to provide the stiffest test of his credentials, having beaten Imperial Hint last season in the meet. Carvajal Jr’s charge has improved greatly since then and is rightly deemed the leading contender in the horse racing betting odds to take the crown away from his rival.
Drefong was the favourite for the event last season at Del Mar racecourse, but the speed of Roy H bested him along with the rest of the field. Imperial Hint put forward a fine run as a slight outsider for the victory, finishing a length behind Roy H in second place, ending his term on a positive note.
After a four-and-a-half month absence, he returned to the track at the Tampa Bay Downs and was the overwhelming favourite for the meet, delivering a comfortable victory over a limited field. Javier Castellano ensured that his charge had no problems, anchoring a fine race in the saddle to secure the triumph by five lengths, sending into his next outing with momentum.
Imperial Hint disappointed at the Churchill Downs in the Churchill Downs Stakes, failing to rise to the occasion. It was one of the worst performances of his career as he failed to find his rhythm on the racecourse over a slightly longer distance of seven furlongs. He was off the pace from the off and could not use his closing speed to affect the outcome of the contest, finishing down in sixth place as Limousine Liberal won the meet.
A response was needed by Carvajal Jr’s charge at his next race at Belmont in the True North Stakes. The meet dropped down half-a-furlong, although Imperial Hint was once again the favourite for the event by a comfortable margin. Castellano and the five-year-old were able to meet on expectations this time, using the speed of the horse down the stretch to edge out Whitmore. Imperial Hint clinched the victory by a head to beat his compatriot, clinching his second win of the term.
The American horse saved his best performance of the season for his last outing, providing further credibility for his chances at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint crown. At Saratoga in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, he was able to dominate the rest of the field with a surge of speed. No other competitor could match him down the final furlong, allowing Imperial Hint to claim the victory by three-and-a-half lengths ahead of Warrior’s Club. It will take a stronger effort next time out for him to go one better than last season and win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint title.