11/03/2016 6:45PM

Imperative breaks long win drought in Big Bear Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Imperative wins the Big Bear Stakes on Thursday under Kent Desormeaux. The victory ended an 18-race losing streak for Imperative.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Imperative won for the first time since April 2014 in Thursday’s $89,835 Big Bear Stakes for main track milers at Santa Anita, ending a losing streak of 18 races.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Imperative closed from last in a field of eight to win by 1 1/4 lengths over 7-2 Conquest Cobra. Sent off favored, Imperative paid $4.80 and was timed in 1:35.98.

“I was so happy to see him back in the winner’s circle,” trainer Richard Baltas said. “He’s had some good races and some bad races. He lost a heartbreaker earlier this year.

“I think the most important thing is the way he’s ridden. Kent knows the horse.”

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Desormeaux was the regular rider of Imperative in 2014 and part of 2015. Desormeaux rode Imperative to a win in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic in April 2014.

“I think he can be anywhere on the track he needs to be,” Desormeaux said. “He’ll either show up or he doesn’t.”

Desormeaux had not ridden Imperative since an eighth-place finish in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap in March 2015.

In Thursday’s race, Imperative rallied wide on the turn to reach the front in the final furlong. Magic Mark, who fought for the lead in early stretch, finished third, followed by El Huerfano, Solid Wager, Soi Phet, Dream Team, and Plain Wrap.

The win was worth $50,400 to owner JK Racing. Imperative has won 4 of 34 starts and earned $2,003,365. He was trained by Eoin Harty and George Papaprodromou earlier in his career. Imperative was claimed for $50,000 at Hollywood Park in December 2013 by Papaprodromou.

Baltas began training Imperative in the summer of 2015. JK Racing bought a share of the gelding in 2015 and has been the sole owner since June.

Baltas said he will consider Imperative for the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap, a Grade 3 at 1 1/8 miles at Del Mar on Nov. 27.