Washington-bred ridgling Atta Boy Roy, who pulled a 10-1 upset in the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) earlier this month, goes for another win under the Twin Spires May 29 in the $100,000 Aristides Stakes (gr. III).
But Roy Schaefer’s 5-year-old son of Tribunal won’t be flying under the radar this time, as he will carry top weight of 124 pounds in the six-furlong contest. The Valerie Lund trainee will face five rivals as he shoots for his 10th win in 19 starts.
Before going wire-to-wire in the slop under Calvin Borel in the May 1 Churchill Downs Stakes, Atta Boy Roy was devouring challengers at Turf Paradise and Emerald Downs, where he won five times since the start of 2009. His biggest previous scores came in the Governor’s Handicap and restricted Chinook Pass Sprint—both at Emerald Downs in Washington.
Overall, Atta Bay Boy is 9-4-0 from 18 starts with earnings of $312,999. He has remained at Churchill Downs to train for the Aristides, turning in a pair of bullet works since his first graded stakes victory. Borel keeps the mount and they will break from the rail.
A $4,500 yearling purchase at the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association 2006 summer yearling sale, Atta Boy Roy was bred by Patricia Murphy and Frederick Pabst. He is out of the Synastry mare Irish Toast. Murphy is also the breeder of Atta Boy Roy's half-brother, The Great Face, who won the 2007 Longacres Mile.
The main challenger for Atta Boy Roy looks to be Richard, Bertram, and Elaine Klein’s homebred Cash Refund, a winner of three straight and five of six overall. A 4-year-old Petionville gelding, Cash Refund enters off front-running victories in the Jan. 23 F.W. Gaudin Memorial and March 27 Duncan F. Kenner stakes—both six furlongs at Fair Grounds.
The Steve Margolis trainee suffered his only career defeat at Churchill in last year’s Matt Winn Stakes, missing by three quarters of a length to the accomplished sprinter Capt. Candyman Can. Prior to that, the bay romped by seven lengths in Louisville in an optional claimer. All five of his wins have come at the Aristides distance. Regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. stays aboard.
Another sprinter entering with good form is Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Chief of Affairs. The 4-year-old son of Yonaguska has hit the board in all five starts in 2010, including a pair of wins. His only misstep in his last three efforts came in the grade III Count Fleet Handicap April 9 at Oaklawn when he missed by a neck to Custom for Carlos after taking a clear lead into the stretch.
Chief of Affairs came back to win for trainer Bret Calhoun in his next start, going wire-to-wire in the May 12 James Whitcomb Riley Stakes at Indiana Downs. The Texas-bred colt will race at Churchill for the first time. He will break from post 2 under Miguel Mena.
Also in the mix is 5-year-old Riley Tucker, runner-up to Chief of Affairs last out. Shaun Bridgmohan rides for Steve Asmussen.
$100,000 Aristides Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:29 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, Trainer
1. Atta Boy Roy (LA), 124, C Borel, V Lund
2. Chief of Affairs (LA), 120, M Mena, B Calhoun
3. Lissa's Star (LA), 118, C Lanerie, M Slager
4. Riley Tucker (LA), 118, S Bridgmohan, S Asmussen
5. Cash Refund (LA), 122, B Hernandez Jr.,Klein, S Margolis
6. Cassoulet (LA, H R1 118, F Torres, J Baker