Speedy Comma to the Top, who has
sprinted in seven of his last eight starts, will stretch out to one mile on
Sunday as he faces four other experienced rivals in Santa Anita’s $65,000 Big
Bear Handicap for 3-year-olds and up.
Second, beaten a head in the 2011
Santa Anita Derby, Comma to the Top comes off a solid fourth, beaten two
lengths, in Santa Anita’s Grade III Eddie D Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on turf
Although he has been sprinting of
late, Comma to the Top registered three consecutive route victories to close
out his juvenile season, culminated by the Grade I CashCall Futurity at 1 1/16
miles in December, 2010.
It is expected that Comma to the Top
will utilize his speed early in the Big Bear and attempt wire to wire tactics
under Corey Nakatani, who hasn’t ridden him since the 2011 Santa Anita Derby.
Owned by Barber, Birnbaum and
Tsujihara, the 4-year-old gelding by Bwana Charlie is trained by Peter
Miller. He has earnings of $922,096 from a record of 22-9-2-1.
Jaycito, a winner of the Grade I
Norfolk at Santa Anita in October 2010, figures to attract considerable
pari-mutuel attention on Sunday. A winner of a first-condition allowance
over Del Mar’s Polytrack on July 22 when going 1 1/16 miles, he was never a
factor in the Grade I Pacific Classic on Aug. 26 at 1 ¼ miles.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob
Baffert, Jaycito was ridden in the Pacific Classic by Rafael Bejarano but will
be reunited on Sunday with Joe Talamo, who guided him to victory on July
22. The 4-year-old Victory Gallop colt has a stalking style and should
employ similar tactics on Sunday. Owned by Zayat Stables, he has a
10-2-4-0 record and $343,900 in earnings.
Tres Borrachos, a 7-year-old gelding
by Ecton Park, is the leading money earner in the Big Bear field, with $949,543
in the bank. Third in the one-turn Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs
on Nov. 5, 2011, the Marty Jones trainee has two thirds from three lifetime
tries at the distance.
In his most recent start, the one
mile Harry F. Brubaker on Sept. 1, he was sent to the lead from his rail post
position and ended up fourth, beaten two lengths on Polytrack. Tres
Borrachos drew the rail again in the Big Bear, and it’s expected that Garrett
Gomez, who will be riding veteran for the first time, will have him forwardly
Owned by George Hicker and the
Button Stable, Tres Borrachos has a career mark of 41-4-4-6.
Rafael Bejarano will ride the lone
3-year-old in Sunday’s field, Shaun Washington. A game allowance winner
at the distance on Aug. 12 at Del Mar, he weakened in the one-mile El Cajon on
Aug. 31, finishing fourth in a field of five, beaten six lengths. Trained
by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer and owned by Madden, Williams and partners,
“Shaun” has an off-the-pace style that could suit him well.
Owner/trainer Myung Kwon Cho will
send out Riveting Reason, who, although he comes off two sub-par efforts at Del
Mar, has solid two-turn credentials and could be part of a hotly contested
early pace from his outside post position.
The complete field for the Big Bear
Stakes, which will be run as the third race on a nine-race program Sunday, with
jockeys and weights in post position order: Tres Borrachos, Garrett
Gomez, 121; Jaycito, Joe Talamo, 119; Comma to the Top, Corey Nakatani, 122; Shaun
Washington, Rafael Bejarano, 114, and Riveting Reason, Edwin Maldonado, 113.
First post time on Sunday is 1 p.m.