Imperialism May Bypass Classic for Sprint

Imperialism May Bypass Classic for Sprint
Photo: Benoit
Imperialism winning the Pat O'Brien.
Steve Taub's Imperialism, fifth in Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park, will most likely make his next start in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) rather than the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) - Powered by Dodge, trainer Kristin Mulhall revealed.

Stretch running Imperialism was beaten more than 15 lengths in the Gold Cup, won by Borrego, after sitting uncharacteristically closer to the early pace than usual. He was initially set to contest the 1 1/4-mile Classic following his run in the Gold Cup, but will instead revert to a shorter distance after a poor finish on Saturday.

"He was too rank coming off the seven-eighths," Mulhall said, referring to the gray colt's victory in the seven-furlong Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar. "In the Gold Cup, that was the most speed he's ever shown. I was thinking he was going to be back where Borrego was. Victor was fighting him the whole way and he never relaxed.

"The receiving barn may have gotten him. When he got in there he didn't relax one bit. He was nice and quiet until we got into the receiving barn. But I'm glad we did it once since we're going to go back in the Breeders' Cup."

Mulhall previously acknowledged that taking on division leader Lost in the Fog at six furlongs was a tough task for any horse, but now believes that if the standout colt is to be beaten it'll be against the best sprinters.

"If he's going to be beaten I think it'll be in the Breeders' Cup," Mulhall said. "I have a feeling he's good enough to overcome that, but there's going to be a lot of speed in there. If he gets attacked under pressure (on the lead) he'll be vulnerable. In the Sprint they're going to run away from Imperialism and he'll have plenty to run at. Nobody's going to leave (Lost in the Fog) out there alone on the lead.

"So basically I think that if there are other horses going head and head with him and if he can be beaten, that's when it'll happen. In just your average typical stakes race nobody's going to beat him, but it may work out (for Imperialism) best to run in the Sprint. Plus with the way Taste of Paradise won the Vosburgh; Imperialism annihilated Taste of Paradise (in the Pat O'Brien) so that's encouraging."

Imperialism is undefeated in three career tries at seven furlongs and in his only start at six furlongs as a 2-year-old at Calder Race Course, he finished fourth.

Imperialism earned $30,000 for his fifth-place Gold Cup finish to bring his bankroll to $898,605.

The son of Langfuhr   will return to Belmont Park's main track on Thursday to begin his preparations for the World Thoroughbred Championships.

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