Imperial Hint Wins the Grade 3 General George at Laurel Park


2017 – Florida-bred Imperial Hint celebrated his fourth birthday with his first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3 General George at Laurel Park to top a Florida-bred exacta with even-money favorite Stallwalkin’ Dude second. Never Gone South was third in the field of nine 4-year-olds and older who went seven furlongs for a purse of $250,000.

With Julian Pimentel aboard, Imperial Hint stumbled slightly at the start but went right to the front to set demanding fractions of :22.61 and :45.28 before winning by two-and-a-quarter lengths in a time of 1:21.20 on the fast track, just .25 seconds off the track record set by Greenspring in the 2010 General George.

It was the third consecutive victory for “the Little Rocket” who would continue the five-race win streak with victories in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park in July and $100,000 Donald LeVine Memorial at Parx in September.

The General George also produced the first graded stakes victory for trainer Luis Carvajal Jr., who after the race, mentioned Imperial Hint’s small stature.

“You know, it’s funny. I was walking out of the paddock when the horses were already on the track and I hear a few people say, ‘Look at the favorite. He’s humungous. Look at the five horse [Imperial Hint]. He’s so small. He has no shot at all.’ But I had in mind, ‘Yeah, you don’t know the heart he has,’” Carvajal said.

The following year, Imperial Hint would win the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga and the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont Park, a double he would repeat in 2019, and would be named the 2018 Florida-bred Horse of the Year, Champion Older Male and Champion Sprinter by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Owned by the late Raymond Mamone of Somerville, N.J. and bred by Bert and Martha Pilcher’s Shade Tree Thoroughbreds in Ocala, Imperial Hint ended his career in 2020 with 14 wins, two seconds and four thirds from 25 with earnings of $2,209,055. He is by Imperialism out of Royal Hint, by Lahint and currently stands at Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana. His first crop are 2-year-olds this year.

Return to the Feb. 18 issue of Wire to Wire