LOUISVILLE – It was a double-double for owners Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen and trainer Peter Miller as Roy H took command approaching the quarter pole and pulled away for an encore victory in the $2 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
In taking the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint for a second straight year, Roy H duplicated the feat of stablemate Stormy Liberal, who recorded back-to-back wins in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) just three races earlier.
The “déjà vu all over again” victory by a decisive 3 ¼ lengths over Whitmore was Roy H’s third win in five 2018 starts and established him as the favorite to earn a second Eclipse Award as the year’s top sprinter. He was coming off a victory in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
“I couldn’t be more proud. Words can’t describe my feelings,” Miller said.
Roy H, a 6-year-old gelding, joined Midnight Lute as the lone back-to-back winners of the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint and became the 18th horse in the 35-year history of the Breeders’ Cup to win consecutive editions of a stakes. It was his ninth win in 22 career starts.
Promises Fulfilled set a fast early pace of 21.35 but could not repulse a strong bid by Roy H, who launched a strong three-wide move turning for home under jockey Paco Lopez and drew clear.
Whitmore rallied to grab second by 1 ¾ lengths over 8-5 favorite Imperial Hint.
Promises Fulfilled wound up fourth.
Roy H, who paid $7.40 as the 5-2 second choice, covered the six furlongs in 1:08.24.
The victory was the first at the Breeders’ Cup for the 33-year-old Lopez.
By Bob Ehalt