12/15/2011 1:11PM

Turf Paradise: All Saint, Atta Boy Roy could duel in Hank Mills Sr. Handicap

Benoit & Associates
All Saint is likely to battle Atta Boy Roy for the lead in the Mills Handicap on Saturday at Turf Paradise.

PHOENIX – When All Saint went on his tear of winning four straight stakes during the 2010-11 Turf Paradise meet on his way to horse of the meet honors, he utilized his speed, going right out to a clear lead each time and playing keep-away. The 5-year-old All Saint returns to defend his title in Saturday’s $35,000 Hank Mills Sr. Handicap, but there’s a major roadblock he didn’t face in any of those four stakes wins last season: significant other speed.

On Saturday, that speed is coming in the form of one-time Grade 1-caliber sprinter Atta Boy Roy, who is part of a field of seven in the mile main-track event for 3-year-olds and up.

All Saint, owned by Pascual Gamez and trained by Wilton Whitehouse, had struggled in California through the early fall of 2010. He came here for the six-furong Caballos del Sol and improved to be third, then dominated four straight stakes, all routes, one on fast dirt, one in slop, and two on turf.

All Saint went back to the West Coast after this meet ended and again struggled, failing to threaten in three starts. He returned to Turf Paradise for the current meet and immediately fit better, finishing second in the Walter R. Cluer on Oct. 29.

All Saint figures to be winging again early, but could have a big problem with major speedster Atta Boy Roy lined up against him. All Saint carries 122 pounds and rider Michael Iammarino.

Atta Boy Roy, owned by REV Racing and trained by Valorie Lund, was one of the quickest horses in the country in 2009 and 2010. A multiple stakes winner, he won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day in 2010 and later that year ran in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, finishing 10th.

In his last two starts, Atta Boy Roy won the Shot of Gold, a sprint at Canterbury on Sept. 11, and then led all the way to win a strong one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita on Oct. 21. As is his custom, he’s been working lights-out. He carries high weight of 124 pounds and rider Glenn Corbett.

If those two get too eager too soon, a few closers could be licking their chops.

Hezamazing comes here sharp and is a stakes winner on this track at this one-mile distance; Forest Mouse has been dominant on the turf course routing, is a multiple stakes winner on dirt as well, and relishes this distance; and Pickpocket invades after showing talent at numerous tracks around the country for second-leading trainer Robertino Diodoro, who claimed him for $16,000 this summer.