Roy H Repeats in Santa Anita Sprint Championship

cfbd2679912f4bf887dcc3897889f1caIn the sometimes chaotic world of sprinting, Roy H has found a way to calm the waters.

Confidently ridden by Paco Lopez, the champion delivered a cool victory in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G1) Oct. 6 at the Arcadia, Calif., track, winning the six-furlong race for a second year in a row.

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Roy H settled in third, three wide, as his Peter Miller stablemate Distinctive B raced through a quarter-mile in :22.45 while pressed by Horse Greedy. Roy H, a 6-year-old More Than Ready gelding, then rallied three wide in the Santa Anita Park turn to pull even through a half-mile in :45.45 before being asked for his best to hold off an attempted rally by Ransom the Moon .

Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen’s Roy H completed the race in 1:09.09 on a fast track, returning $4, $2.80, and $2.10 as the even-money favorite. He earned the third top-level score of his career. Distinctive B finished second, a half-length in front of Ransom the Moon.

“He was very light-footed today, but I didn’t want to send him, so I waited a little bit,” Lopez said. “He’s an easy horse ride. You can place him pretty much anywhere, but you can take a hold if you want and wait to let him run.”

The Santa Anita Sprint Championship is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race to the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). A year ago, Roy H used his Santa Anita Sprint Championship victory as a springboard to a one-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint over Imperial Hint at Del Mar, which sealed his year-end honors as Eclipse Award-winning male sprinter. Roy H will look for the Sprint repeat this year at Churchill Downs, where Imperial Hint also is expected to run.

Roy H was bred by Ramona S. Bass out of the Elusive Quality mare Elusive Diva, and was purchased by Rockingham from Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables at the Keeneland April 2014 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. He was pinhooked to that sale by Dunne for $115,000 from Claiborne Farm’s consignment to the 2013 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Miller was glad to see Roy H race well off his runner-up finish in the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) July 28 at Del Mar. That effort marked his first start since finishing third in the Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (G1) March 31 at Meydan. He prepared for Saturday’s test with a series of works at San Luis Rey.

“Ruben (Alvarado), my assistant, has done a phenomenal job with him up here for two years, but he just seemed stale to me,” Miller said. “I think he just needed a change of pace and a change of scenery, so we brought him back to San Luis Rey. I think it’s picked his head up a bit. This is the Roy H I’ve been waiting to see all year.”