Imperialism Headed to Jockey Club Gold Cup

Steve Taub's Imperialism, winner of the seven-furlong Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) last month, will make his next start in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 1, trainer Kristin Mulhall confirmed Wednesday.

Where the 4-year-old son of Langfuhr  goes after that depends on his performance in the 1 ¼-mile Gold Cup. Chances are, though, that the most likely spot will be one of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship races, with the exact event remaining a bit of a mystery. Mulhall is hoping Imperialism will take to the sandy Belmont Park surface so she can enter him in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) – Powered by Dodge (gr. I)

"I don't want to run (Imperialism) in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) because I don't want to take on Lost in the Fog at three-quarters of a mile," Mulhall said. "I wouldn't mind trying him at seven furlongs if there were someone to go with (Lost in the Fog) early, but not at six furlongs.

"Distance isn't a concern with Imperialism, though," she added. "In the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) he ran well to be third at a mile and a quarter and he just got beat in the Strub at 1 1/8 miles, but ran on well after the wire so I don't think the extra furlong would be any trouble. He'd have to run really well in the Gold Cup for us to go in the Classic, but he could also run in the Mile. I wouldn't think twice about running him on the turf again. Turf, dirt, long, short – it doesn't really matter with him."

Since his win in the Aug. 21 Pat O'Brien, Imperialism has worked twice including logging a bullet seven furlongs in 1:24 4/5 at Del Mar on Monday. Mulhall said that she'll send the colt to New York a few days before the Gold Cup and will leave him in the Big Apple should he be pointed toward the Breeders' Cup.

Imperialism won the San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) and San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) as a 3-year-old and placed in six other black-type events, including three grade I races. From 24 career starts, he's reached the winner's circle six times, with five seconds and three thirds for earnings of $868,605.