01/14/2017 6:54PM

Imperial Hint continues resurgence in Fire Plug

Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Trevor McCarthy guides Imperial Hint to a 3 1/2-length victory in the Fire Plug.

After a promising start to his career last winter, Imperial Hint lost his way in graded stakes races over the summer, finishing 12th in the Pat Day Mile and 12th in the Woody Stephens. But he is back in form now, and after a blowout second-level allowance win last month at Parx Racing, Imperial Hint was much the best Saturday at Laurel Park, where he won the $75,000 Fire Plug Stakes by  3 1/2 lengths.

Trevor McCarthy picked up the mount Saturday for trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. when McCarthy’s mount, Never Gone South, was scratched. Carvajal trains Imperial Hint for owner Raymond Mamone. The 4-year-old Imperial Hint, a son of  Imperialism, was bred in Florida by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, the breeder of top Florida-bred 3-year-old Three Rules.

Imperial Hint was well backed to 8-5 favoritism and made the price stand up, showing good speed from his far outside post while contesting fractions of 22.05 and 45.39 seconds with Trouble Kid. Trouble Kid faded before the top of the stretch, but Imperial Hint stayed on solidly, dashing away from the stalkers and closers while widening his advantage through the final furlong. He ran six furlongs on a good, sealed track in 1:10.52 and paid $5.20 to win.

Behind him came Chublicious, Sonny Inspired, Chief Lion, Big Guy Ian, Measured, and Trouble Kid.

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Blue Moon Ace, Gin Makes Ya Sin, Never Gone South, and Res Judicata were scratched.

Sweet On Smokey scores in What a Summer

Earlier on the card, Sweet On Smokey won the $75,000 What a Summer Stakes for older fillies and mares for the second year in a row. Sweet On Smokey had lost five straight races and appeared to be off form, but she surged along the inside through the stretch run under Victor Carrasco, collaring favored Disco Chick in the final furlong and going on to a half-length victory.

Disco Chick finished one length in front of Lovable Lady, with Camille Claudel fourth and Southern Girl fifth. Flatterywillgetyou and Mysterious Miracle were scratched.

Sweet On Smokey ($13), trained by Claudio Gonzalez for BB Horses, ran six furlongs in 1:11.89 while winning for the 10th time in 35 starts. The 5-year-old Sweet On Smokey  is by Successful Appeal.