Imperial Czar (inside) holds off Numb Lips to win the Miami Mile Handicap.

Imperial Czar (inside) holds off Numb Lips to win the Miami Mile Handicap.

Coady Photography

Imperial Czar Wins Off-the-Turf Miami Mile

Son of Imperialism scores off-the-turf stakes at Calder April 21.

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.

Completing the order of finish was Yummy With Butter, Decisive Moment, Tannersville, It's Never to Late, and Sette E Mezzo.

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.