September 22, 2021

Roy H looks to regain winning ways in Santa Anita Sprint Championship

Roy H captures his stakes debut in the True North Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park (c) NYRA/Viola Jasko/Adam Coglianese Photography

Favored at 8-5 over returning sprint champion Drefong, Roy H brought a three-race win streak into the July 29 Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar but didn’t get the opportunity to show his best when being severely hampered by a riderless Drefong. Trainer Peter Miller elected to freshen his charge off the runner-up effort and Roy H will make his final tune-up for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) in Saturday’s $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1).

The gelding will face five opponents and the 6-furlong contest serves as “Win & You’re In” for the $2 million Sprint at Del Mar on November 4.

By the WinStar Farm stallion More Than Ready, Roy H competed primarily on turf earlier in his career and the 5-year-old began to show his affinity for the main track when posting a 7 ¼-length allowance triumph at Santa Anita in early May. He followed with a smashing 2 ½-length victory in the True North (G2) at Belmont Park, registering a career-best 111 BRIS Speed rating in his stakes debut two starts back.

Kent Desormeaux picks up the assignment and Roy H will return from a 70-day freshening as the likely prohibitive favorite.

Ransom the Moon will also make his first appearance since the Bing Crosby, rallying up the inside to notch a 1 ½-length decision while Roy H was carried extremely wide into the stretch. Winner of the Kona Gold (G2) and second in the San Carlos (G2) beforehand, Ransom the Moon has been transformed into an accomplished dirt sprinter by Phil D’Amato after competing primarily in Canadian turf routes earlier in his career. Flavien Prat retains the mount on the 5-year-old.

Multiple stakes winner American Anthem merits respect from the Bob Baffert barn. He came up a little short when rallying belatedly for third in the Jerkens Memorial (G1) at Saratoga last out, but the 3-year-old recorded a pair of excellent wins in the Laz Barrera Memorial (G3) and Woody Stephens (G2) beforehand and likes the local main track, posting three consecutive “bullet” workouts in preparation. American Anthem will make his first 6-furlong stakes attempt with regular rider Mike Smith.

Giant Expectations stepped up to win the August 26 Pat O’Brien (G1) in his first stakes attempt, registering a commendable 105 BRIS Speed, and the Peter Eurton-trained 4-year-old adds more depth to Saturday’s field. California-bred stakes victor Mr. Hinx is also part of the mix and last-out allowance/optional claiming scorer Edwards Going Left completes the field.