Roy H wins the Santa Anita Sprint Championship under Kent Desormeaux

Roy H wins the Santa Anita Sprint Championship under Kent Desormeaux

Benoit Photo

Roy H Cruises in Santa Anita Sprint Championship

It only took one crack of the whip to get the More Than Ready gelding into gear.

A first grade 1 score came relatively easy to Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen's Roy H Oct. 7 in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

All it took was a single crack of the whip from jockey Kent Desormeaux at the eighth pole to shift Roy H into his top gear, and the 5-year-old More Than Ready  gelding responded to fly by longshot Mr. Hinx in the stretch.

Under a hand ride the rest of the way, Roy H hit the wire in 1:08.68 for six furlongs over the fast main track, to win by a length.

Roy H's last two races were on opposite ends of the spectrum regarding trip quality. While his run in the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) last time out involved getting floated out severely wide by the loose Drefong, which may have cost him a chance a victory, the Sprint Championship trip could not have gone better.

With American Anthem on the lead, posting fractions of :22.07 and :45.03 through a half-mile, Roy H relaxed in third, with Mr. Hinx between them.

"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 a half a length behind the leaders and I had him in absolute reserve all the way."

Turning for home it was only a matter of what Mr. Hinx had left, because Roy H was full of run on the outside and American Anthem was fading. The California-bred longshot—off at 41-1 in the field of six—dug in on the inside but was no match late.

"He gave me a nice kick there and we just got outrun by a quality horse," said Mr. Hinx's jockey, Drayden Van Dyke.

American Anthem held third and was followed by Bing Crosby winner Ransom the Moon, Giant Expectations, and Edwards Going Left, to complete the order of finish.

Outside of his runner-up finish in the Bing Crosby, Roy H's 2017 campaign has been flawless. He made his seasonal debut winning an allowance down the Santa Anita Park hillside turf course. His next allowance try got washed off the hill, and he won it anyway May 6. Then came a trip to New York, where he won the True North (G2) at Belmont Park June 9.

"This was very rewarding," said winning trainer Peter Miller. "We thought we were the best horse in the Bing Crosby. It was bad racing luck that day. I've had so many bad beats in my life and I'm just glad today wasn't another one of those."

Bred in Kentucky by Ramona Bass out of the Elusive Quality mare Elusive Diva, Roy H now has five wins from 16 starts and $534,765 in earnings.