04/09/2016 5:05PM

Imperial Hint wins Sophomore Stakes on Florida Cup Day


Imperial Hint led from start to finish to win the Sophomore Stakes by 6 3/4 lengths under leading local jockey Antonio Gallardo on Saturday, providing one of the highlights of the annual Florida Cup card at Tampa Bay Downs. The program offered six stakes races for Florida-breds worth $75,000 apiece.

Imperial Hint, a 3-year-old son of Imperialism, was bred by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds Inc. and is trained by Luis Carvajal Jr. for owner Raymond Mamone. He made his career debut at the Oldsmar, Fla., track Feb. 19, winning a $22,700 maiden special weight race by 4 1/4 lengths and earning an 81 Beyer Speed Figure.

On Saturday, he set fractions of 22.62 seconds, 45.22, and 1:09.40 before finishing the seven-furlong race on a fast track in 1:22.15. Imperial Hint paid $3.40 as the favorite in a field of seven. Epic Journey finished second, one length ahead of Extravagant Kid.  

• Speed Seeker ($51) pulled off a shocker in the Distaff Turf, leading throughout and scoring by two lengths over the favored Josdesanimaux. Eric Rodriquez was aboard the longshot winner, who finished the 1 1/16-mile race on firm turf in 1:40.42.  

Speed Seeker, a 5-year-old Heatseeker mare, was bred by Katherine Devall and the Heatseeker Syndicate and is trained by Joan Scott for a partnership. She won the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes in August 2014 at Woodbine for the biggest victory of her career and has won five of 19 career starts for $260,438.

Josdesanimaux, trained by Mark Casse, was making her first start since winning the Florida Sire Jewel Princess Stakes last September at Gulfstream Park.

• In the Turf Classic, Go Around ($6.40) stalked the early pace and held off an onrushing Fundamental to win by a neck, stopping the clock for 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:47.11 under Gallardo.

Go Around, a homebred for Peter Vegso, is a 4-year-old colt by Medaglia d’Oro. He’s out of the Caerleon mare Mediation, who also produced Go Between, the winner of the Grade 1 Pacific Classic in 2008 for Vegso. Go Around, trained by Bill Mott, finished third in the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes last September at Saratoga and has won four of eight career starts for $227,860.

Like the winner, Fundamental was looking for his first stakes win, having finished second in the Grade 2 Commonwealth Derby for trainer Chad Brown last September at Laurel Park.

• In the Sprint, Catalina Red ($8.80) made a successful 4-year-old debut, stalking the early pace and outfighting Fast Flying Rumor down the stretch to win by one length. The winning time for six furlongs on a fast track was 1:09.22. Fernando De La Cruz rode the winner.

Catalina Red, a son of Munnings, was bred by France and Irwin J. Weiner and is trained by Chad Stewart for owner Anthony A. Lenci. He won the Jackson Bend Stakes for statebreds at Gulfstream Park in August and made his final start of 2015 in the Grade 3 Gallant Bob at Parx last September, finishing last. As a 2-year-old in 2014, Catalina Red won the Inaugural and Pasco stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. He shares the track record for seven furlongs at 1:21.40. Catalina Red has won four of nine starts for $172,285.

Fast Flying Rumor had a three-race winning streak earlier at the meet for trainer Gerald Bennett, including a score in the Turf Dash.

• In the Sophomore Turf, Life Imitates Art ($5.40) rallied powerfully around the final turn and edged clear in the stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Our Way. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on firm turf was 1:42.41. Manoel Cruz rode the winner.

Life Imitates Art, a 3-year-old son of More Than Ready, was bred by Hardacre Farm LLC and is owned by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. Two starts back on Jan. 2 at Gulfstream Park, Life Imitates Art rallied to win the Grade 3 Dania Beach Stakes by a head for trainer Chad Brown. The horse has won three of seven starts, with three runner-up finishes, for earnings of $198,720.

Family Meeting, the winner of the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes on the Del Mar turf in November, was the lone filly in the field of seven and finished fourth.

• In the Sophomore Fillies, April Gaze was forced to go wide around the turn under jockey Elvis Trujillo but still was able to wear down the front-running Valueable Charmer and win by one length. Trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., April Gaze finished the seven furlongs in 1:24.29 and paid $3.20 as the favorite.

April Gaze is a 3-year-old High Cotton filly bred by Patricia Generazio and owned by Karl and Cathi Glassman. She was running on short rest, having won an optional $75,000 claimer at Gulfstream Park on April 1. The filly has four wins and a runner-up finish in five career starts, for earnings of $121,460.