More Than Ready gelding Roy H has been named Champion Sprinter of North America for 2017.
Entering the year as an allowance-level competitor, he could hardly have been considered championship material but a quantum leap in form saw him win all bar one of six starts. And there were excuses for his only loss, in the Bing Crosby Hcp Gr.1 in July, when a riderless runner fanned him off the track at Del Mar.
Vinery legend More Than Ready has sired 180 stakes winners across the globe but Roy H is his first winner of an Eclipse Award.
Trainer Peter Miller flew Roy H to the east coast for his stakes debut in the True North Stakes Gr.2 at Belmont Park in June after hollow allowance victories at Santa Anita. “You might think this was ambitious but I believe he’s been a stakes horse from Day 1,” Miller explained. “Unfortunately, a lot of little things prevented him from winning one until now.
“I think you’re going to hear a lot more from Roy H.”
Returning home to California, he was unlucky in the Bing Crosby but bounced back to win the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Gr.1 and Breeders’ Cup Sprint Gr.1 at Del Mar taking his earnings for the year to more than $1.27 million.
A $300,000 buy for Rockingham Ranch owner Gary Hartunian at Keeneland, he was bred by Ramona Bass and is from Group 3 winner Exclusive Diva (Elusive Quality).
“My grandfather Roy was a big mentor to me,” Hartunian said at the Eclipse Awards on Thursday in reference to naming his champion. “He was very disciplined. He would lecture me, ‘moderation, Gary, moderation’. I remember those words to this day.”
Roy H is working towards his 2018 debut in the Palos Verdes Stakes Gr.2 at Santa Anita next Saturday, February 3. “He’s doing great,” Miller reported. “He came out of the Breeders’ Cup great and we gave him a little break. We just backed off but he’s training super now.”