We witnessed trio of ultra-impressive performances over the past weekend by horses who are sure to have a major impact in November’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Defending champ Imperial Hint was one of six who contested the Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday, The dark bay son of Imperialism successfully defended his crown with arguably his finest effort to date. The Luis Carvajal Jr. trainee sat just off dueling leaders to the turn for home, and he exploded through the stretch to post a four-length romp beneath Javier Castellano. “He’s an amazing horse,” his pilot said. Imperial Hint, who has finished second and third in the last two editions of the Sprint, continues to carry his high-class form with him into his six-year-old campaign. The Florida-bred registered a career-best 113 BRIS Speed number for his efforts. The John Sadler-trained Cistron earned his first Grade 1 triumph with a half-length tally in the Bing Crosby Handicap (G1) at Del Mar. The five-year-old son of The Factor is a head shy of winning three straight graded races since moving to the dirt, and he has bragging rights as the top sprinter on the West Coast currently with Roy H being on the sidelines. Cistron led at every call on Saturday and posted a BRIS Speed number of 103, his lifetime best. The fact that the bay loves Santa Anita enhances his chances at Breeders’ Cup glory. In the 11TH race on Sunday at Saratoga, a dozen sophomores vied in the Amsterdam Stakes (G2). Jorge Navarro’s Shancelot went forward as the 6-5 favorite and didn’t disappoint in his third lifetime outing. The dark bay son of Shanghai Bobby broke best from his outside post, extended his lead to six lengths at the top of the stretch, and then poured it on late to the tune of a 12 1/2-length tour-de-force. The colt is unbeaten from a trio of lifetime runs, and he earned a robust 114 BRIS Speed figure for his work. Here is my current top six in the sprint division:

  1. Mitole – Brave third in Vanderbilt on Saturday keeps multiple Grade 1 star on top
  2. Imperial Hint – Little guy continues to be big
  3. Shancelot – “Freaky” three-year-old has never been headed
  4. World of Trouble – Dual Grade 1 victor unbeaten in 2019
  5. Cistron – Peaking five-year-old has home court advantage in CA
  6. Roy H/ X Y Jet – Either of this fine duo can go to the top if they fire upon return
PHOTO: Imperial Hint successfully defends his title in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) at Saratoga under jockey Javier Castellano on Saturday, July 27, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Meredith Chrimes