Trainer Peter Miller had the fastest sprinters in the country Saturday, and in Roy H he now has a probable Eclipse Award winner following that gelding’s success in the $1,380,000 TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Del Mar.
Not long after running one-two in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) with Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Boy, Miller saddled Roy H to a one-length, title-clinching triumph in the Sprint. Rockingham Ranch, owner of Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Boy, co-own Roy H with Peter Bernsen.
Only a length behind a :21.82 opening quarter set by Takaful and a :44.61 half-mile set by Imperial Hint, Roy H overtook the latter in the final sixteenth and passed the wire in 1:08.61 for six furlongs on a fast track. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, he paid $11.80 as the 9-2 third choice.
“This is amazing,” Miler said. “Two Breeders’ Cup wins in one day. The race shaped up the way we thought it would. We saw a lot of speed in there and we figured he could sit third or fourth and make his big run. He did it just the way we drew it up.”
Imperial Hint was two lengths clear of Mind Your Biscuits for the place. The full order behind the top three were American Pastime, Ransom the Moon, Drefong, Calculator, Whitmore, B Squared, and Takaful.
The disappointment of the race was defending champion and Sprint winner Drefong, the 7-5 favorite and normally a front runner. Drawn unfavorably in post 2, Drefong was slow to begin, angled out on the turn, but showed no kick from off the pace.
A five-year-old son of More Than Ready, Roy H has made just four career stakes appearances. After back-to-back allowance wins to start the year, Roy H shipped east and landed the True North (G2) at Belmont Park by 2 1/2 lengths.
Fanned wide by a riderless Drefong entering the stretch of the Bing Crosby (G1), Roy H saved second behind Ransom the Moon, but turned the tables on that rival with a one-length triumph in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1). He’s now earned $1,359,765 from a line of 17-6-4-1.
Bred in Kentucky by Ramona Bass, Roy H is out of the multiple Grade 3-winning Elusive Diva, by Elusive Quality.
BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT QUOTES
Winning trainer Peter Miller (Roy H)
“This is amazing. Two Breeders’ Cup wins in one day. The race shaped up the way we thought it would. We saw a lot of speed in there and we figured he could sit third or fourth and make his big run. He did it just the way we drew it up.”
Winning jockey Kent Desormeaux (Roy H)
“He had to man-up the first 200 yards. I had to jockey for position, fighting for a spot two times in 200 yards. After that, he had the catbird seat. He raced off my fingertips and gave me a lovely ride. Absolutely exploded turning for home. He was full of run. We were running from the quarter pole to the eighth pole. We took off. I mean we exploded and couldn’t catch the leader for at least 200 yards. Once Roy gained the ascendency, he steadily opened up. I looked at the Jumbotron and the next guys were five behind us, so I was safe with the win.”
Second-place trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. (Imperial Hint)
“He came so close. He ran great. it was a great race, and it was a very tough race. I am so proud of my horse.”
Second-place jockey Javier Castellano (Imperial Hint)
“I’m not disappointed in the way he ran at all. He ran a great race. He kept running all the way to the end. He just got beat.”
Third-place trainer Chad Summers (Mind Your Biscuits)
“I was proud of him. We were concerned when we came here that the stretch was short. It got to us today. We were a little bit further back than I was hoping. I wanted to be a little bit closer and be in it a little bit earlier. But he came with his run like he always does. We knew the Forego was a bit of a fluke. I think he showed up today and made us proud. We’re disappointed but there’s always next year and the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill with a little bit longer stretch.”
Third-place jockey Joel Rosario (Mind Your Biscuits)
“He ran a big race. They just kind of got away from me from there. I wanted to be a little closer but that’s the way he is. He put in a nice run. The horses in front never came back.”
Trainer Bob Baffert (Drefong, sixth as favorite)
“I knew in the first 100 yards it was over when he couldn’t make the lead. What I was afraid would happen, happened. He’s been good to us and I really can’t complain. I knew the inside post would be tough on him and I could tell when he went across the gap there that Mike (Smith) was a little hesitant with him. You need racing luck. You need a good horse, but you need racing luck. It wasn’t his day. This horse doesn’t owe us anything. He’s been great to us. I can’t complain.”
Jockey Mike Smith (Drefong, sixth as favorite)
“He didn’t get away (from the gate) really running. I looked up and the saw the gap in front of me and by the time I closed it, it was pretty much over.”