12/20/2012 2:05PM

Turf Paradise: Touch the Sun enters Hank Mills Sr. at his peak


PHOENIX – Touch the Sun looks to continue his ascent, as the 4-year-old gelding steps up in class in the $35,000 Hank Mills Sr. Handicap at Turf Paradise on Saturday. The one-mile, main-track event drew a field of eight.

Owned by REV Racing and trained by Frank Lucarelli, Touch the Sun had always been capable of big efforts, but the son of Bertrando has really picked up his game in recent months, particularly on dirt. He romped by 9 1/4 lengths in a $7,500 route at Emerald Downs on Sept. 16 and was claimed by Lucarelli. He shipped here and ran quite well in a pair of turf events, finishing third Oct. 22 and second Nov. 10. But when he returned to dirt here Dec. 1, he showed it is his best game.

Facing allowance foes at a mile, he went right out to the lead and drew off to win by 8 1/2 lengths, geared down, earning an 87 Beyer Speed Figure. He faces tougher and other speed in the Hank Mills Sr., but may be up to the task. Gallyn Mitchell rides at 115 pounds.

Why Not Be Perfect invades from Southern California for owner JC Racing Stable and trainer Jeff Metz as the 120-pound highweight. A 5-year-old horse, Why Not Be Perfect comes off a strong turf win at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 10. One concern: he’s 0 for 15 on dirt. Anne Sanguinetti rides.

Hurricane Lake ran second on turf for $40,000 at Hollywood Park on Nov. 18 and was claimed by current owners Charles Garvey and TG Racing LLC. He then shipped to Zia Park for trainer Robertino Diodoro and ran third in the Zia Park Distance Classic.

Jamaican Memories comes off a romping win in the 6 1/2-furlong Cactus Wren, so he comes here sharp, though his best work has come sprinting.

Saratoga Boot may appreciate returning to dirt after finishing second in a tough turf allowance race here Dec. 7. Three of his four wins have come on dirt, including one on this track at this trip a year ago.