Imperative battled with heavily-favored Stanford the length of the stretch, just getting his nose down on the wire to win the inaugural $400,000 Poseidon Stakes at Gulfstream Park January 28.
Settled in fourth, just behind the leaders through the early stages of the race, the seven-year-old Bernardini gelding made his move on the far turn, sweeping past horses while going four-wide. Imperative joined Stanford on the lead and the pair began to pull away from the rest of the field as they battled each other through the final eighth of a mile. The two hit the wire together, with a photo determining that Imperative was the winner by a nose.
Imperative was making his first start for his new connections Loooch Racing Stables and Imaginary Stables, and trainer Bob Hess. The gelding had been knocking heads against Graded Stakes company in California, competing against the likes of Horse of the Year California Chrome in the G1 Pacific Classic.
Imperative was a Graded Stakes winner in 2014, winning the $1.5 million G2 Charles Town Classic during a season that also saw him finish third in both the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita and G1 Pacific Classic.
Bred in Kentucky by Glencrest Farm LLC & Darley, Imperative is out of the Stakes-winning mare Call Her, making him a half-brother to Graded Stakes winner and G1-placed Battle Won, Stakes winner Nadeshiko, and Stakes-placed Matched.
Bernardini had another fantastic year in 2016 with 10 Graded Stakes winners including dual G1 winner Cavorting, multiple Graded Stakes winner Lewis Bay, G2 Royal Delta Stakes winner Penwith, and G2 Nashua Stakes winner Hemsworth.
He will stand the 2017 breeding season at Jonabell Farm for $100,000 live foal, stands and nurses.