Stormy Liberal, Roy H on new paths to Breeders' Cup three-peats

June 11, 2019 04:05pm

With comebacks by reigning champions Roy H and Stormy Liberal anticipated later this season, Gary Hartunian hopes for familiar results at the Breeders’ Cup.

The head of Rockingham Ranch said trainer Peter Miller is “working backward” from the Nov. 1-2 championships at Santa Anita Park with both geldings.

The two-time Turf Sprint hero Stormy Liberal, a 7-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic, has dealt with a shin issue since finishing third in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on Dubai World Cup night.

“We’re being real cautious with him,” Hartunian said, naming Del Mar’s Aug. 17 Green Flash (G3) as a potential comeback spot. That would leave time for another race before a try at another Turf Sprint.

Roy H is more of a work in progress, still healing up from the left-front foot issue Hartunian said developed on his flight to contend in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1). Miller wound up scratching the 7-year-old son of More Than Ready.

“Thank God Pete didn’t run him in Dubai,” Hartunian said.

Roy H remains at the Trifecta Equine Athletic Center in Bonsall, Calif., not far from San Luis Rey Training Center where Miller keeps his horses.

The back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner could make the Oct. 5 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) his lone prep for this year’s race.

Speaking of his championship hopefuls, Hartunian said, “Hopefully they can get enough conditioning that the Breeders’ Cup can go like it did last year.”

Hartunian, whose Rockingham Ranch also stands at stud in California both Conquest Fahrenheit and Finnegan’s Wake, said he’s closely monitoring developments at Santa Anita Park.

Rockingham Ranch and Miller shipped out Kentucky string of horses since racing halted at Santa Anita due to safety concerns earlier in the season.

“The problem we started having was training at San Luis Rey over a faster track and then going up to Santa Anita,” Hartunian said, with the main track there playing noticeably slower than before the temporary shutdown. “We just weren’t getting any results on the dirt there.

“The horses just couldn’t get through it training at San Luis Rey, so we decided to give Churchill a shot — and Keeneland.”

Hartunian said a number of those horses will return to California for Miller’s home meet at Del Mar, but they’ll maintain a Kentucky string.

“Pete’s going to give it a good shot there,” Hartunian said. “We’re going to leave a string in Kentucky, bring some 2-year-olds in there — Kentucky-bred — and train them up there.”


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