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Comma to the Top Hopes to Become Millionaire in Daytona

November 27, 2010.Comma To The Top ridden by Corey Nakatani wins the Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park, Inglewood, CA
Comma to the Top, a hard-hitting 4-year-old gelding who won the Grade I Cash Call Futurity in 2010, and was subsequently second, beaten a head, in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby the following spring, would attain millionaire status should he win the Saturday's Grade III, $100,000 Daytona Stakes, which attracted a field of 12.

Trained by Peter Miller and owned by Barber, Birnbaum and Tsujihara, Comma to the Top comes off a hard-fought fourth, beaten a length and a half, in the Grade III Vernon O. Underwood Stakes going six furlongs on synthetic cushion track on Dec. 2. One race prior, on Oct. 21, he was an impressive gate to wire winner of the restricted Big Bear Handicap going one mile at Santa Anita.

A $22,000 2-year-old in training purchase, the Florida-bred son of Bwana Charlie has only run once before down the hillside, in the Grade III Eddie D Stakes on Sept. 28, finishing fourth, beaten two lengths at odds of 7-2. His earnings stand at $967,696 from a record of 24-10-2-1. A Daytona win would result in a paycheck of $60,000.

Great Mills, who pressed the pace and was a solid fourth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 3, has placed in a total of four graded stakes, including a nose defeat in the Grade III Shakertown last April at Keeneland, will be seeking his first graded victory in the Daytona.

A 4-year-old homebred son of War Front, he’s owned by Millenium Farms and is trained by Steve Asmussen. He retains the services of Rafael Bejarano and will break from the rail in his second lifetime try down the hill. Great Mills has earnings of $376,838 from a record of 19-5-3-2.

Byrama, a highly regarded 3-year-old filly trained by Simon Callaghan, is drawn between Great Mills and Comma to the Top and will be facing males for the first time since she was a 2-year-old maiden in her native England. She enters the Daytona fresh, having run a fast-finishing second as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade III Senator Ken Maddy Stakes on Oct. 20.

With Bejarano seemingly opting to ride Great Mills, Byrama will embark upon the steep jump in class with Garrett Gomez, who will hope to have plenty of early pace to exploit in the final furlong. Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Byrama is 3-2-0-1 down the hillside course. She has an overall mark of 13-4-3-4 with earnings of $234,634.

Trainer Bob Baffert will be represented by Capital Account, who bested Comma to the Top by a nose when running third in the Underwood. Third in the Grade I Bing Crosby and a winner of the Grade II Pat O’Brien Stakes on Polytrack last summer at Del Mar, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Closing Argument was second, beaten a head in the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 6, prior to running a dull 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Nov. 3.

Owned by Thoroughbred Legends Racing, Capital Account will be trying turf for the first time Saturday. He has earnings of $409,080 from a record of 12-5-3-3.

Trainer Jeff Mullins sends out a dangerous commodity in Wilkinson, a 4-year-old by Lemon Drop Kid who has been idle since winning the mile turf Grade III American Handicap on May 26 at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Owned by E.K. Gaylord II, Wilkinson will be reunited with Martin Pedroza in the Daytona. He has three bullet works on his tab and was clocked going five furlongs in 58.40 on Dec. 22 at Santa Anita, the second-fastest move of 89 drills at the distance. His record stands at 18-5-3-3, with earnings of $336,994.

Trainer Blake Heap sends out the consistent Circa’sgoldengear, who fell a neck short of registering his third consecutive win going six furlongs on turf on Nov. 16. The 5-year-old California-bred gelding is 3-1-2-0 coming down the hillside and has an overall mark of 16-4-6-3, with earnings of $238,672. He is co-owned by Heap and Earle Malley.

Tommy Town Thoroughbreds homebred Ain’t No Other never threatened as the 6-5 favorite in the six furlong Oakland Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Dec. 15, finishing third, beaten 3 ¾ lengths in a field of five. He has three good efforts down the hill to his credit, including a third-place finish in the Grade III Morvich Stakes in Oct., 2011.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the 4-year-old California-bred by Old Topper has earnings of $357,903 from a 21-7-6-5 mark.

The complete field for the Daytona, which will be run as the eighth on a nine-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Great Mills, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Byrama, Garrett Gomez, 114; Comma to the Top, Corey Nakatani, 119; Starspangled Heat, Mike Smith, 119; Circa’sgoldengear, Joe Talamo, 119; Clubhouse Ride, Aaron Gryder, 119; Capital Account, David Flores, 124; Guest Star, Victor Espinoza, 119; Red Sun, Julien Leparoux, 119; Wilkinson, Martin Pedroza, 121; Ain’t No Other, Juan Hernandez, 119, and Tale of a Champion, Tyler Baze, 119.

 

 

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