Top sprinter Imperial Hint retired

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Imperial Hint, an Eclipse Award finalists for champion sprinter in 2017, 2018 and 2019, will retire from racing after wining 14 of 25 starts and earnings $2.2 million. The bay Florida-bred, trained by Louis Carvajal Jr. for Raymond Mamone, burst on to the national scene by winning the Grade 3 General George at Laurel in 2017 – the first graded score for the trainer and the horse.

Afterward, he played at the highest levels – winning four Grade 1 stakes, twice placing in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, competing in Dubai and Saudi Arabia and breaking the storied 6-furlong track record at Saratoga. The son of Imperialism won the Alfred Vanderbilt and Vosburgh Stakes twice each. After battling for the lead through fractions of :21.82 and :44.61, he finished second to Roy H in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar. The next year at Churchill Downs, Imperial Hint was third behind Roy H and Whitmore. Last year, he was ordered scratched by veterinarians the morning of the race with a blister on his coronet band

Through the years, we were lucky enough to cover Imperial Hint at Laurel Park, Saratoga Race Course, Del Mar, Belmont Park and even at home in Fair Hill. Carvajal was always gracious and accommodating and his horse was always classy. 

Some highlights:

February 2017. The General George.  Our first encounter. The weather was snowy, the horse was tiny, mighty and undeniable – ousting heavy favorite Stallwalkin’ Dude.

July 28, 2018. Pocket Rocket. He made the cover of The Saratoga Special and got a three-page preview by Shayna Tiller when he started in the Alfred Vanderbilt. Scroll to page page 14 in the PDF.

July 29, 2018. Speed Freak. After cruising home in the Vanderbilt, Imperial Hint again got the treatment from The Saratoga Special with two pages of coverage by Shayna Tiller. Scroll to page 14 in the PDF.

April 2019. A vacation at Fair Hill. This one was fun. We even got a chance to step into the stall with Imperial Hint, who spent some time at Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center afer a trip to Dubai. Imperial Hint was turned out in the paddock, got plenty of grass and even played host to the local birds.

April 2019. Don’t miss the slide show. Maggie Kimmitt captured Imperial Hint – and a bird – at rest.

July 29, 2019. Rocket Man. Imperial hint broke an unbreakable record when he repeated in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Alfred Vanderbilt, covering 6 furlongs in 1:07.92. He made the cover of The Saratoga Special and got plenty of coverage inside. Scroll to page 10 in the PDF.

August 2019. Little Big Time.  A column about Imperial Hint, Carvajal and the impacts that come with the success of giant-sized super trainers in racing.