Two-time Breeders' Cup Sprint Champion Roy H added to his lengthy list of laurels on Saturday at Santa Anita, as he literally cruised to a smashing four length win in the Grade II, $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes under Paco Lopez. Trained by Peter Miller, Roy H took the Palos Verdes for the second consecutive year as he covered six furlongs in a rapid 1:08.89.
Breaking sharply from the far outside in a field of six older horses, Roy H, a 7-year-old gelding by More Than Ready out of the Elusive Quality mare Elusive Diva, appeared to be in complete control as he reeled in stablemate Conquest Tsunami and St. Joe Bay heading to the far turn and he fairly galloped the final furlong to win in hand.
“The track's been playing (slow) and he was just cruising,” said Miller, who is expected to collect Roy H's second consecutive Eclipse Award as the nation's top sprinter this Thursday at Gulfstream Park. “He runs today in 1:08 and four (fifths)…I hope he didn't run too fast.
“He's a pro's pro and you know he's the Lebron James of sprinters…You know in the words of (the late) Chick Hearn, 'He's as cool as the other side of the pillow,' so nothing bothers him…”
Idle since taking the Grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint by 2 ¾ lengths on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, Roy H was off at 1-5 and paid $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10.
Owned by Gary Hartunian's Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen, LLC, Roy H notched his fifth win from seven starts at Santa Anita and improved his overall mark to 23-10-5-2. With the winner's share of $120,000, he now has earnings of $3,139,765.
“We're gonna try Dubai again hopefully we can get it right this time,” Miller said. “He's an unbelievable horse and I just thank Gary and Amy for allowing me to train him.
“He's something else, he's a thing of beauty. Watching the race, I was not happy with Paco, because I thought he was too close, but he knew better. He's a machine and I'm running out of superlatives.”
Jerry Hollendorfer's Kanthaka, who was well beaten in the Grade I Malibu Stakes going seven furlongs here on Dec. 26, was next to last after the first half mile and overtook Conquest Tsunami late under a hand ride to finish second by 1 ½ lengths.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Kanthaka, in his first start against older horses, was off as the 6-1 third choice and paid $4.20 and $3.00.
Campaigned on turf in his last seven starts, Conquest Tsunami cut out fast early fractions and tired to finish third, 1 ¼ lengths in front of Awesome Anywhere.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Conquest Tsunami was off at 14-1 and paid $5.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.44, 44.35 and 56.28.
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