Horse Racing
Mike Welsch | Daily Racing Form 14d

Roy H gives trainer unforgettable day with BC Sprint win

Horse Racing

DEL MAR, Calif. -- Trainer Peter Miller put an exclamation point on an unforgettable day after Roy H wore down a game Imperial Hint to all but sew up division honors with a one-length victory in Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint at Del Mar.

Earlier in the afternoon, Miller sent out both the first- and second-place finishers, Stormy Liberal and Richard's Boy, in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.

Roy H is owned by the partnership of Gary Hartunian's Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen, who bought a share of the horse earlier in the year. Rockingham Ranch also owns Stormy Liberal.

"I feel like Chad Brown or Bob Baffert, one of those guys," said Miller when asked what it feels like to win two Breeders' Cup races in less than two hours.

"It's a dream come true. I just want to thank Gary Hartunian for giving me the opportunity, Dave Bernsen, my wife (Lani), who is the backbone of the organization, and all my staff. A big thanks to everyone involved."

Roy H got the perfect trip under jockey Kent Desormeaux over a main track that seemed to favor outside-placed stalkers and closers throughout the afternoon. Roy H stalked the early leaders while kept three to four paths off the rail, engaged Imperial Hint while kept well out in the track near mid-stretch and gradually edged clear at the end.

Imperial Hint disputed the early running outside Takaful, disposed of that rival after a half, angled down a bit near the inside for the drive and could not resist the winner at the end. Mind Your Biscuits rallied from last down the center of the track to finish another two lengths farther back in third.

Drefong, the defending Sprint champion, broke a step slow and was never a serious factor, finishing sixth as the 7-5 favorite.

Roy H is a 5-year-old son of More Than Ready. The win was his fifth in six starts this season, the lone blemish on his record a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby, during which he was carried very wide into the stretch by a riderless Drefong.

Roy H paid $11.80 after covering six furlongs over a fast track in 1:08.61.

"You never think you're going to win a Breeders' Cup race, there's just too many good horses and too many things that can happen," Miller said. "But, anyone who asked me about my horses today, I said they were all live. Use them all. And I meant it. I thought they were just coming into the race great. It's rare that they all show up like that, but we got great rides and had great luck. I feel blessed."

Miller said gelding Roy H at the conclusion of his 2016 campaign was a big factor in his turnaround this year.

"He's always had Grade 1 talent, he always had niggling issues and he wasn't quite there," Miller said. "We gelded him, gave him some time off, and he just came back a beast."

Baffert voiced his concern about Drefong's chances immediately after he drew post 2 for the Sprint on Monday.

"Del Mar's the worst any time going short, I knew when we drew the pill we were in trouble," Baffert said. "You could tell when he went over the gap area, he just wasn't firing. And the inside is dead today. Yesterday it was great, but it changed. Things happen, sometimes it just doesn't work out. It's too bad."

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