Forced off the Calder Casino & Race Course turf because of heavy rain, Jessica Colon’s Imperial Czar was able to draw into the $125,000 Miami Mile Handicap (VIDEO) from the also-eligible list and took advantage. The 4-year-old son of Imperialism tallied a three-quarters of a length victory on a sloppy track April 21.
Imperial Czar covered the mile in 1:39.86 under Jesus Rios for trainer Saul Matos.
After biding his time in fourth while tracking crisp splits of :23.25 and :46.93, the colt began his charge to the front as the field moved through the final turn, passing rivals before pulling alongside pacesetting Ducduc in mid-stretch. He took the lead and then held off the late charge of Numb Lips for the score.
“The race went just like I anticipated it would,” Rios said. “There was a lot of speed and I wanted to sit off it; not too far back, but far enough that when I asked him he would just go on. And he did. He loved the track, and he just went on when I asked.”
“It’s the jockey,” Matos said. “In Puerto Rico, I won over 125 races with him. And all of my stakes races that I won in Puerto Rico were with this jockey. I have very good luck with him. I just put him on the horse and tell him to do whatever he wants. I have nothing but confidence in him.”
Imperial Czar returned $19.80, $10.80, and $6. Numb Lips paid $7.80 and $4.80, while Ducduc hung on for third, returning $5.80.
With his victory in the Miami Mile, Imperial Czar improved his record to eight wins from 28 starts while boosting his lifetime bankroll to $269,786. He was bred in Florida by R.C. Van Voorhees and Elizabeth A. Steinbach, and is out of the Carson City mare Evil Eyed Czarina.