Roy H opens season against six in Santa Anita's Palos Verdes Stakes

Roy H opens season against six in Santa Anita's Palos Verdes Stakes
Photo: Casey Phillips/Eclipse Sportswire

Two-time Breeders’ Cup Champ and reigning Eclipse Award Sprinter Roy H heads a field of six older horses as he defends his title in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes going six furlongs. 

Trained by Peter Miller and owned by Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen, Roy H has been idle since taking his second consecutive Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. A 7-year-old gelding by More Than Ready, Roy H was among the most impressive winners on Breeders’ Cup Saturday, as he won by 3 1/4 lengths while posting a lofty 111 Beyer Speed figure — matching his career-best rating. A winner of last year’s Palos Verdes, he’s bidding for his third consecutive win under Florida-based Paco Lopez.  

Here's a look at the competition:

KANTHAKA

Owner: West Point Thoroughbreds                                

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Third to McKinzie four starts back in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes here on March 10, this 4-year-old colt by Jimmy Creed was subsequently well beaten in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland April 7. Subsequent to that, he cut back in distance to seven furlongs and rallied to take the Grade 3 Lazaro Barrera Stakes at Santa Anita on May 12 and was then idle prior to finishing six lengths behind McKinzie in the seven-furlong Malibu, a Grade 1 on Dec. 26. With a recent race to his credit, Kanthaka, who will be handled by leading man Flavien Prat, should be set to bring his best in the Palos Verdes.  

ST. JOE BAY

Owner: Hronis Racing, LLC                                                         

Trainer: John Sadler

This venerable 7-year-old Florida-bred gelding will be making his 35th career start and has to be accorded a puncher’s chance. Fresh off a gutty head victory in a five-furlong classified allowance at Los Alamitos on Dec. 14, he was haltered by Sadler for $62,500 on May 28 and has been a gem of consistency in five subsequent starts. With wet weather forecast through Thursday, St. Joe Bay would appreciate any sort of off track, as he posted a 1 ¾-length win in the Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes here over a sloppy surface in December of 2016. Look for him to press the early issue on Saturday as he shoots for his fourth win in 13 local tries. With an overall mark of 34: 6-7-6, he has earnings of $610,515.  


THE PALOS VERDES STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 9 of 10 (approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT)

1. Touched by Autism—Geovanni Franco—120

2. Distinctive B—Drayden Van Dyke--120

3. Kanthaka—Flavien Prat—122

4. St. Joe Bay—Tyler Baze—120

5. Conquest Tsunami—Joel Rosario—120

6. Awesome Anywhere—Mike Smith—120

7. Roy H—Paco Lopez—124

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