(Imperial Hint winning the Vanderbilt Stakes / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Raymond Mamone’s multiple graded-stakes winner Imperial Hint will look to defend his title in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Vosburgh for 3-year-olds and up at Belmont Park.
Offering an all expenses paid “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 2 at Santa Anita Park, the Vosburgh will be one of four graded stakes races on Saturday’s card, highlighted by the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup offering a berth in the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, along with the Grade 2, $300,000 Beldame and Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim.
America’s Day at the Races will present live national coverage of Jockey Club Gold Cup Day at Belmont Park from 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. on FS2 with regional coverage airing on MSG Networks from 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Imperial Hint, trained by Luis Carvajal, Jr., is set to make his first start since a track record-setting performance in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on July 27 at Saratoga Race Course, where he returned off a three-month layoff to win the Vanderbilt by four lengths in a blistering 1:07.92.
Carvajal said he is impressed with the way Imperial Hint has rebounded off that race as he looks to get his star pupil back to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint for the third time. The diminutive speedster finished third in the Sprint last year and second in 2017.
“He’s come out of the Vanderbilt great and been training up to the Vosburgh in good form,” said Carvajal, Jr. “The timing of this race works perfect for us. He really gives his all. He gives 100 percent every time he runs, so we try to space his races out.
“We know he likes Belmont,” added Carvajal, Jr. “This race comes at the perfect time, setting us up for the Breeders’ Cup which is a plan we had at the start of this year. We’re looking forward to the next step on Saturday.”
A 6-year-old son of Imperialism, Imperial Hint enjoyed a remarkable 2018 capturing the Grade 2 True North, Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt and Grade 1 Vosburgh.
With the goal of making it back to this year’s Breeders’ Cup, Imperial Hint made his 2019 debut in the Pelican on February 16 at Tampa Bay Downs in which he ran third. He made his next start in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai, where he picked up another third-place finish ahead of his Vanderbilt title defense.
Imperial Hint will depart from post 4 with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard.
Leading the list of contenders to challenge Imperial Hint is multiple graded-stakes winner Promises Fulfilled for conditioner Dale Romans and owners Robert J. Baron and WinStar Farm.
The 4-year-old son of Shackleford had a productive sophomore campaign winning four of eight races, including scores in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park; the Grade 3 Amsterdam and Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga; and the Grade 2 Phoenix at Keeneland.
Promises Fulfilled has one win and one third in five starts this campaign, topped by a score in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud on July 6 at Belmont.
With Luis Saez aboard, Promises Fulfilled will depart from post 5.
Trainer Jason Servis entered a pair of multiple graded-stakes winners in Firenze Fire for owners Mr. Amore Stable and Call Paul for owners Michael Dubb, David Simon, and Bethlehem Stables.
Firenze Fire, a 4-year-old son of Poseidon’s Warrior, showed promise from his debut in which he won by 3 ½ lengths in June of 2017 at Monmouth Park before going on to win the Grade 3 Sanford at Saratoga and Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont. He started his 3-year-old season on the Triple Crown trail by winning the Jerome at Aqueduct Racetrack before ultimately finishing eleventh in the Kentucky Derby.
Firenze Fire cut back in distance in the latter half of his sophomore season, capturing the Grade 3 Dwyer at Belmont and the Grade 3 Gallant Bob at Parx Racing before running fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
In five starts this year, his lone victory came in the six-furlong Runhappy on May 11 at Belmont. He arrives at Saturday’s test off a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga and will leave from post 6 with regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard.
Call Paul, a Pennsylvania-bred son of Friesan Fire, has two wins from six starts this year. The talented 3-year-old captured the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park on February 2 and the Danzig on June 1 at Penn National. He will look to rebound off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens on August 24. Manny Franco has the call from the inside post.
Also entered is Brown Buckeye for trainer Anthony Quartarolo and owner Ron Paolucci (Jose Bracho, post 3); and American Power for owner-trainer Linda Rice (Jose Ortiz, post 2).
The Vosburgh is slated as Race 4 on Saturday’s 11-race card. First post is 1 p.m.