May 27, 2024

Sprint champ Roy H cruises in successful Palos Verdes title defense

Roy H and jockey Paco Lopez win the Palos Verdes Stakes (G2) on January 19, 2019, at Santa Anita Park © BENOIT PHOTO

As a two-time TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner and, likely after this coming week, a two-time champion sprinter, Roy H was already in lofty company historically. On Saturday, the seven-year-old joined California legend Native Diver as only the second two-time winner of Santa Anita‘s six-furlong Palos Verdes (G2).

The 3-10 favorite to defend his crown in the $200,351 dash, Roy H made it look easy. Advancing from third to second around the far turn and then collaring the pacesetting Conquest Tsunami at the quarter pole, Roy H waltzed home from there under Paco Lopez, scoring by four lengths in a time of 1:08.89 over a good track.

Owned by Rockingham Ranch and David Bernson, Roy H paid $2.60. Kanthaka rallied to earn runner-up honors by 1 1/2 lengths over Conquest Tsunami.

Roy H is heavily favored to earn his second title as champion male sprinter this coming Thursday at the Eclipse Awards dinner in Florida. No horse has ever won three sprint titles, but Roy H will seek to become the first by likely following a path similar to last year. Trainer Peter Miller said Roy H is headed back to Meydan for the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) in late March, a race he finished third in a year ago on Dubai World Cup Day.

Following that minor setback and a second in the Bing Crosby (G1), Roy H closed out his campaign winning the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. This year’s Sprint will be held at Santa Anita. Roy H’s bankroll now reads $3,139,765 from a line of 23-10-5-2.

Roy H was bred in Kentucky by Ramona Bass. The gelding is by More Than Ready and out of Exclusive Diva, a multiple Grade 3-winning daughter of Elusive Quality.