07/06/2009 11:00PM

Atta Boy Roy too fast for Emerald foes


AUBURN, Wash. - Atta Boy Roy cemented his status as the fastest horse at Emerald Downs with a speedy victory Sunday in the $50,000 Governor's Handicap. The 4-year-old Tribunal colt set a pressured pace, drew clear in mid-stretch and held off two challengers in the final strides to win in 1:14.20, the fastest 6 1/2-furlong time at the meeting and 1.20 seconds shy of Sabertooth's track and North American record.

In his previous outing June 6, Atta Boy Roy had tied the six-furlong track record of 1:07.40 during a 10-length victory in a $50,000 optional claimer. Trainer Valorie Lund, whose last Emerald Downs stakes victory had come 10 years earlier, on July 5, 1999, said Atta Boy Roy would start next in the Grade 3, $300,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 16.

Assessment rallied to finish a length behind Atta Boy Roy and a nose in front of third-place finisher Wasserman, who captured the Governor's Handicap in 2007 and 2008. All three horses are being pointed to the Longacres Mile, a race Wasserman won last year. Atta Boy Roy has never won around two turns, but he is a half-brother to 2007 Mile winner The Great Face. Owners Roy and Ellie Schaefer purchased Atta Boy Roy for $4,500 at the 2006 Washington summer yearling sale. The $27,500 winners' share increased his earnings to $99,800 from 13 starts.