ARCADIA, CA – Rockingham Ranch’s Roy H got the break he needed to return to victory lane, confidently conquering Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes.
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with winner receiving an automatic berth in the $1.5 million TwinSpires Sprint at Del Mar on Saturday, November 4.
Breaking well from the outside post in a field of six under Kent Desormeaux, Roy H sat third early, stalking the pace set by American Anthem through early fractions of :22.07 and :45.03. Swinging three-deep through the far turn with Mr. Hinx to his immediate inside, Roy H took a short lead in midstretch and drew away to hit the wire first by a length in a final time of 1:08.68 for the 6-furlong main track event.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day for some time,” Desormeaux said. “He’s been a special horse since the day I got to touch him. It was quite a handy ride today. He’s fast. He probably broke 1/2 a length behind the leaders and I had him in absolute reserve all the way. He camped three-wide in the cat-bird seat and I just waited to turn him loose. He was really full of run. He had been touting himself in the mornings, so I really couldn’t wait to ride him.”
Mr. Hinx overtook American Anthem to finish second by 2 1/4 lengths. Ransom the Moon, already a Breeders’ Cup Sprint qualifier after his win in August’s Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar, never fired and finished fourth. Giant Expectations and Edwards Going Left completed the order of finish.
Despite rallying for second, an unfortunate incident involving a jockey-less Drefong had resulted in Roy H essentially getting taken out of the running for much of the Bing Crosby, so trainer Peter Miller was satisfied that an uneventful trip resulted the way it did here.
“This was very rewarding,” Miller said. “We thought we were the best horse in the Bing Crosby. It was racing luck that day. I’ve had so many bad beats in my life and I’m just glad that today wasn’t another one of those. He always had this ability. He’s all business and just a very, very good horse. Hopefully, we get to see this horse again in the Breeders’ Cup.”
With the victory, the 5-year-old son of More Than Ready improved his record to 16-5-4-1 with career earnings of $534,765.
Roy H returned $3.80 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Mr. Hinx brought back $17.40 to place and $5.80 to show, while American Anthem paid $2.80 to show.