Photo Credit Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders’ Cup Photos ©
Catalina Cruiser – The multiple graded-stakes winner galloped 1m under David Pinada in preparation for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Imperial Hint – Raymond Mamone’s Imperial Hint jogged and visited the paddock under exercise rider Alejandro Contreras Thursday morning at Santa Anita, where the 6yo son of Imperialism will start in Saturday’s Sprint.
Imperial Hint will be making his third start in the Sprint, having finished second in 2017 at Del Mar and third last year at Churchill Downs. Trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. is hoping the third time is the charm.
“For me, of course it would be great, but for him, it would mean the world. He deserves to win a race like this,” Carvajal said.
Carvajal has savored all of Imperial Hint’s successes over the past four years.
“I feel very lucky. Friends of mine who are training – I know a lot of people who have been training for a long time – have never had a horse like this,” Carvajal said. “We don’t have big clients. To get a horse like this, I think it means more than winning the lottery.”
Imperial Hint, who measures 15-3 hands, has many fans in Carvajal’s native land, Chile, as well as in the U.S.
“It brings a lot of people together, this horse,” Carvajal said. “This little guy has done some great things for us.”
Imperial Hint, who launched his career at Tampa Bay Downs with a debut victory and a win in a Florida-bred stakes in 2016, has ranked among the country’s top sprinters the past three racing seasons.
“I guess because of his size, he doesn’t put a lot of wear and tear on himself. If you look at him and see how he trains, you think you have a 3-year-old instead of a 6-year-old,” Carvajal said.
Mitole – One of the more popular favorites of Breeders’ Cup weekend, William and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Sprint runner Mitole did light work when he left Barn 59 under Angel Garcia.
“Today he just jogged,” trainer Steve Asmussen said.
The son of Eskendereya, an OBS April 2017 $140,000 purchase, has won nine of his past 11 starts and developed into the country’s top sprinter and miler. He has three Grade 1 wins this year, including the Churchill Downs, Metropolitan Handicap and Forego. Over Saturday’s 6f distance, he has six wins from 10 starts, including March’s Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park.