The 7-year-old gelding Imperative (Bernardini) joined Researcher as a two-time winner of the $1.25-million GII Charles Town Classic with a game neck tally over Matt King Coal (Cool Coal Man) over a sloppy track Saturday afternoon. It was another neck back to War Story (Norther Afleet) in third.
“I've loved this game since I was three years old,” said winning co-owner Ron Paolucci, who campaigns Imperative along with Imaginary Stables. “Maybe even before that when I started going with my grandfather. My earliest memories are all of the track and it's what I've always wanted to do.”
Paolucci, who co-owned 2013 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies upsetter Ria Antonia, is also the co-owner of Charles Town Classic third-place finisher War Story.
“I take a lot of criticism and it's hard not to fire back sometimes,” he continued. “But I love the game, and at the end of the day, I'm here to promote it and run my horses and beat to my own drum.”
Sent off at odds of 5-1, Imperative raced in a perfect spot in sixth as 84-1 longshot Cautious Giant (Giant's Causeway) set a pressured pace with last year's favored Charles Town Classic winner Stanford (Malibu Moon) in hot pursuit through solid opening fractions of :23.43 and :47.38. Steadily advancing on the outside entering the far turn, Imperative took aim on new leader Matt King Coal in the stretch and the pair battled it out in the final sixteenth with Imperative edging to the front late for a narrow success.
Previously campaigned by J K Racing Stable and trainer Richard Baltas, Imperative was purchased privately by Loooch Racing Stables and Imaginary Stables and transferred to Robert Hess, Jr. for his 7-year-old campaign. Besting Stanford by a head in Gulfstream's Poseidon H. Jan. 28, he was last seen finishing a well-beaten ninth in the GI Santa Anita H. Mar. 11. Imperative was also second in the 2015 renewal of the Charles Town Classic and also boasts third-place finishes in the 2014 GI TVG Pacific Classic S. and GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita S.
Saturday, Charles Town
CHARLES TOWN CLASSIC S.-GII, $1,250,000, CT, 4-22, 4yo/up,
1 1/8m, 1:53.05, sy.
1–IMPERATIVE, 118, g, 7, by Bernardini
1st Dam: Call Her (SW), by Caller I. D.
2nd Dam: Jolie Britt, by Caveat
3rd Dam: Googoots, by Bold Favorite
($325,000 Ylg '11 KEESEP). O-Loooch Racing Stables, Inc. &
Imaginary Stables; B-Glencrest Farm LLC & Darley (KY);
T-Robert B. Hess, Jr.; J-Javier Castellano. $732,000. Lifetime
Record: 38-6-8-3, $2,973,135. *1/2 to Battle Won (Honour and
Glory), GSW & MGISP, $820,956; Nadeshiko (Honour and
Glory), SW, $255,968; and Matched (Smart Strike), SP,
$211,898. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Werk Nick Rating: A+.2–Matt King Coal, 118, c, 4, Cool Coal Man–Donna Marie, by
Came Home. ($25,000 Ylg '14 OBSAUG; $250,000 2yo '15
OBSAPR). O-Lady Sheila Stable; B-John E. Shaw (FL); T-Linda
3–War Story, 118, g, 5, Northern Afleet–Belle Watling, by
Pulpit. ($90,000 Ylg '13 KEESEP; $58,000 RNA 2yo '14
OBSMAR; $51,000 2yo '14 EASMAY; $545,000 RNA 3yo '15
FTKHRA). O-Loooch Racing Stables, Inc., Glenn Ellis &
Imaginary Stables; B-Jack Swain (KY); T-Jorge Navarro.
$122,000.Margins: NK, NK, 3HF. Odds: 5.00, 8.20, 3.90.
Also Ran: Bodhisattva, Stanford, Sunny Ridge, Gangster, Cautious Giant. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.