05/27/2010 11:00PM

Atta Boy Roy at best distance in Aristides


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In a veritable lifetime on the racetrack, Valorie Lund got her biggest thrill when Atta Boy Roy won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs on the May 1 Kentucky Derby undercard.

"I told someone you couldn't stuff more happy into a person's body after we won," said Lund, a trainer since 1985.

It's doubtful that such euphoria can be attained again Saturday, when Atta Boy Roy runs back against five other older horses in the Grade 3, $100,000 Aristides at Churchill. Lund is merely hoping that, win or lose, the Aristides will serve as a useful stepping-stone to another major race here, the Nov. 6 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

"After this, we'll probably run him either at Calder or Saratoga, then once more in September or October before the Breeders' Cup," Lund said.

Those lofty goals seem justified, especially if Lund is correct about six furlongs being the preferred distance for Atta Boy Roy, a 5-year-old Washington-bred ridgling who held on to win the seven-furlong Churchill by a diminishing three-quarters of a length.

"Six is his absolute best," Lund said. "That's what we'll have Saturday and in the Breeders' Cup."

Atta Boy Roy, with Calvin Borel back aboard, will break from post 1 in the 22nd running of the Aristides. Early strategy surely will come into play as at least a couple of his rivals, Chief of Affairs and Cash Refund, also have early speed in heavy supply.

Cash Refund, who came to prominence in New Orleans this winter by winning three straight races, has been training in excellent fashion, according to trainer Steve Margolis.

"Look at him, busting out at the seams," Margolis said at his barn earlier this week.

Cash Refund, a winner of 5 of 6 overall starts for the Klein family of Louisville, will have Brian Hernandez Jr. up when breaking from post 5. From a tactical standpoint, Cash Refund might have a slight edge if Atta Boy Roy and Chief of Affairs (post 2) go speeding off into a ruinous duel while Hernandez maintains a close stalking spot from his favorable post.

The Aristides, named for the winner of the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, is the eighth of 11 races on a card co-featuring the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes (race 10).