Roy H locks in BC Sprint spot with Sprint Championship
Courtesy of Steve Andersen of DRF.com
ARCADIA, Calif. - The Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship in early October seems to arrive at the right time of year for Roy H.
Last year, Roy H won his first Grade 1 race in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship and followed with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar. He was later named the champion sprinter of 2017.
Roy H won for the first time on Saturday since February, and ended a two-race losing streak, with a commanding win in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. He earned a fees-paid berth for the BC Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
The victory erased the disappointment of a second to Ransom the Moon as the favorite in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar in July. Ransom the Moon was third in Saturday’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
Ridden by Paco Lopez, Roy H ($4) won Saturday’s race by 2 3/4 lengths over Distinctive B, finishing six furlongs in 1:09.09.
“He ran the way I thought he would,” said trainer Peter Miller said.
The first two finishers are trained by Miller for Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch, which co-owns Roy H with David Bernsen.
Lopez was aboard Roy H for the first time since a troubled second in the 2017 Bing Crosby.
“I had the best horse in the race,” Lopez said.
Lopez, who rides primarily in Miami, gave Roy H a confident ride. Roy H was third in the first half-mile, stalking Distinctive B through an opening quarter-mile in 22.45 seconds. Roy H was within a half-length of Distinctive B with a quarter-mile remaining when Lopez looked over his shoulder to check the status of Ransom the Moon.
Ransom the Moon, the 3-2 second choice, was racing three-wide on the turn and never threatened Roy H.
“I was waiting for” Ransom the Moon, Lopez said. “At the eighth-pole, I asked him and he gave me a big kick.”
Distinctive B finished a half-length in front of Ransom the Moon, who was followed by Edwards Going Left and Horse Greedy.
Roy H, a 6-year-old gelding by More Than Ready, has won 8 of 21 starts and earned $1,919,765. Saturday’s race was his fifth stakes win.
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