Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen’s Roy H (More Than Ready) added to a banner day for trainer Peter Miller and part-owner Gary Hartunian of Rockingham Ranch, providing them each with their second Breeders’ Cup victory in the GI Sprint, following a one-two finish from Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic) and Richard’s Boy (Idiot Proof) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint earlier in the day. Sent off at 9-2, the bay tracked from third as Takaful (Bernardini) zipped through an opening quarter in :21.82 with Imperial Hint (Imperialism) hot on his heels. Takaful backed away and Imperial Hint was happy to take the lead, but Roy H was ranging up menacingly on his outside as they hit the half in :44.61. The pair battled down the stretch, but Roy H had plenty left in the tank and skipped clear of that rival to win by a length. Imperial Hint held second and GISW Mind Your Biscuits (Posse) came running late for third. Heavily-favored champion Drefong (Gio Ponti), winner of this event last term, never fired, finishing sixth.
“This is amazing,” Miller said. “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.”
“He had to man-up the first 200 yards,” Hall of Fame pilot Kent 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.”
When asked how the partnership with Hartunian came together, Bernsen said, “Just got to know Gary over the last couple years, seen him at the races. We had some horses running in the same races often, and to me it looked like Roy H would be a good investment at the time, and he’s won two Group 1s since. So pretty timely purchase.”
Luis Carvajal, Jr., trainer of runner-up Imperial Hint, “He came so close. He ran great. it was a great race, and it was a very tough race. I am so proud of my horse.”
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, conditioner of beaten favorite Drefong, “I knew in the first 100 yards it was over when he couldn’t make the lead. What I was afraid would happen, happened. He’s been good to us and I really can’t complain. I knew the inside post would be tough on him and I could tell when he went across the gap there that Mike [Smith] was a little hesitant with him. You need racing luck. You need a good horse, but you need racing luck. It wasn’t his day. This horse doesn’t owe us anything. He’s been great to us. I can’t complain.”
Kicking off this term with a pair of dominant optional claimer wins at Santa Anita this spring, Roy H followed suit with a 6-1 upset of Belmont’s GII True North S. in June. Second to the reopposing Ransom the Moon (Malibu Moon) in a rougly run renewal of this venue’s GI Bing Crosby S. July 29, the gelding captured the GI Santa Anita Sprint Championship last time Oct. 7.
Breeder Ramona Bass purchased MGSW Elusive Diva (Elusive Quality) at the 2009 Keeneland January sale carrying a foal by Giant’s Causeway and sold the mare in 2013 to Calumet for $75,000 in foal to Algorithms at the Keeneland November sale. Elusive Diva is responsible for the juvenile colt Call Me McLintock (Point Given); a yearling filly by Oxbow; and a weanling colt by English Channel. She was bred back to Oxbow.
Saturday, Del Mar
TWINSPIRES BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT-GI, $1,380,000, DMR, 11-4, 3yo/up, 6f, 1:08.61, ft.
1–ROY H, 126, g, 5, by More Than Ready
1st Dam: Elusive Diva (MGSW, $484,510), by Elusive Quality
2nd Dam: Taj Aire, by Taj Alriyadh
3rd Dam: Whimsical Aire, by Messenger of Song
($115,000 Ylg ’13 KEESEP; $310,000 2yo ’14 KEEAPR). O-Rockingham Ranch & David A. Bernsen; B-Ramona S. Bass, LLC (KY); T-Peter Miller; J-Kent J. Desormeaux. $825,000. Lifetime Record: 17-6-4-1, $1,359,765.
Werk Nick Rating: B+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Imperial Hint, 126, c, 4, Imperialism–Royal Hint, by Lahint. O-Raymond Mamone; B-Shade Tree Thoroughbreds Inc (FL); T-Luis Carvajal, Jr.. $255,000.
3–Mind Your Biscuits, 126, c, 4, Posse–Jazzmane, by Toccet. ($47,000 Ylg ’14 KEEJAN; $47,000 RNA Ylg ’14 SARAUG; $47,000 RNA 2yo ’15 OBSAPR). O-Head of Plains LLC, J Stables LLC, M. S., D. & C. Summers & M E Kisber.; B-Jumping Jack Racing LLC (NY); T-Chad Summers. $135,000.
Margins: 1, 2, 1 1/4. Odds: 4.90, 4.30, 9.40.Also Ran: American Pastime, Ransom the Moon, Drefong, Calculator, Whitmore, B Squared, Takaful.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.