Making his turf debut, even-money pick Comma to the Top cruised to a front-running 1 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park Nov. 27 for his fourth consecutive win.
Comma to the Top, a Florida-bred 2-year son of Bwana Charlie, scored his first graded win for owners Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, and Kevin Tsujihara. Peter Miller trains the bay gelding who has led at every call during his current winning streak. All eight of his prior starts have come on synthetic tracks.
The final time for the one-mile event on firm turf was a solid 1:34.77.
Miller said afterward that he plans to point Comma to the Top to the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) over Hollywood's Cushion Track Dec. 18.
"He's going to the Futurity but turf is a nice option for next year and things like that," Miller said. "I didn't want to train him for six weeks up to the Futurity. He's a big, heavy horse and he takes some training."
Richard and Linda Thompson bred Comma to the Top, who is out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Maggies Storm. He sold for $22,000 as a 2-year-old in training in April at the Ocala Breeders' Sale Co.
With Corey Nakatani aboard, Comma to the Top broke on top and never looked back, though his trip wasn't entirely without issues. Comma to the Top didn't handle the clubhouse turn all that well but managed to hold the lead after ducking out. Divine Child, a 38-1 outsider in the field of nine juveniles, pushed the favorite, who raced well off the rail, through sizzling quarter-mile splits of :23.62, :46.56, and 1:10.24.
Divine Child gave way on the turn and Comma to the Top was in command coming into the stretch. Surrey Star emerged from the pack to try and make a race of it, but Comma to the Top, in spite of drifting out in the lane, led by more than three lengths approaching the eighth pole and held sway under strong handling.
"He's got that natural high cruising speed and that's what makes him a dangerous horse," noted Nakatani after registering his record 14th win in Hollywood's Turf Festival. "We're going to have a lot of fun with him."
Late-running Moment of Weakness, ridden by Brice Blanc, pipped Surrey Star and Joe Talamo by a nose for second, with Gab Power a neck farther back in fourth.
Comma to the Top, coming off a 6 1/4-length win in the Real Quiet on the Cushion Track Nov. 6 for his first stakes win, has been dominating in his recent races. He won a couple of allowance heats over Golden Gate Fields' Tapeta racing surface prior to that by a combined 10 lengths.
"That last race was pretty easy on him" Miller said. "I know it's pretty contrary to popular belief to run horses every three weeks but I thought this horse would benefit from the effort. (He's) a really good horse and he's just starting to come around. He won real easy and I was really pleased with his performance today."
Comma to the Top's career mark stands at 5-1-0 in nine races with earnings of $176,600.
Carrying top weight of 122 pounds, Comma to the Top paid $4, $3.40, and $2.40. A pair of Irish-bred juveniles were next. Moment of Weakness, making his third start in the United States for trainer James Lloyd, returned $12.60 and $5.60 and rounded out a $43.80 exacta. Surrey Star, a group-placed colt in Great Britain in his initial U.S. start, was $3.60 to show.
Gab Power was followed by Boxeur des Rues, Dominator, Mazarron, Tappin Tough, and Divine Child.