Gary Hartunian and David Bernsen's Roy H gave trainer Peter Miller his second-ever Breeders' Cup win in the Sprint this Saturday at Del Mar. The win goes along with Hartunian and Miller's victory earlier on the card in the Turf Sprint with Stormy Liberal. Roy H, ridden by Kent Desormeaux for his sixth Breeders' Cup win, moved into third heading into the far turn, then ran down Imperial Hint in the stretch to hit the wire a length in front. The gelded 5-year-old son of More Than Ready covered six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:08.61, paying $11.80. Off as the 5-2 favorite, defending champion Drefong finished sixth in the field of 10.
“This is amazing,” said a jubilant Peter Millier. “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.”
— Breeders' Cup (@BreedersCup) November 4, 2017
Imperial Hint left the starting gates incredibly quickly under Javier Castellano, but the tractable colt rated without too much fuss off the speed of Takaful through a first quarter in :21.82. American Pastime was just in behind those two, and Desormeaux kept a close eye on the leaders with Roy H from fourth position. Mind Your Biscuits, meanwhile, was lagging in his usual position at the rear of the field.
Entering the turn Castellano allowed Imperial Hint his head, and he surged to the lead with great enthusiasm to mark the half in :44.61. Desormeaux moved Roy H up into striking range, and cued the gelding at the top of the stretch. Roy H briefly engaged in battle with Imperial Hint, but rolled on by in the final eighth of a mile to win by a length.
“He had to man-up the first 200 yards,” Desormeaux said. “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.”
Imperial Hint begrudgingly gave in to finish second, and Mind Your Biscuits came flying from the rear of the field to finish third. American Pastime held fourth.
“He came so close,” said Imperial Hint's trainer Luis Carvajal. “He ran great. It was a great race, and it was a very tough race. I am so proud of my horse.”
Bred in Kentucky by Ramona Bass, Roy H was a $310,000 2-year-old at Keeneland, but he did not try graded company until this year. Roy H would be undefeated in 2017 were it not for the riderless Drefong carrying him out to the middle of the track in the G1 Bing Crosby, where the gelding still managed to finish second. His other 2017 victories came in the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, the G2 True North at Belmont, and a pair of Southern California allowance races. Overall Roy H has won six of his 17 lifetime starts, with four seconds and a third. He has earned $1,359,765.
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