Comma to the Top, on the comeback trail for trainer Peter Miller, picked up his first win since last year's CashCall Futurity (gr. I) in an allowance test at Hollywood Park Dec. 11.
Making his second start since returning from an ankle injury last month, Comma to the Top disposed of 9-10 favorite Indian Firewater near mid-stretch en route to a 3 1/4-length victory in the $56,000 heat. With Joe Talamo aboard, the 3-year-old son of Bwana Charlie ran seven furlongs on Hollywood's Cushion Track in a solid 1:21.63.
Sent off at 3-1 odds, Comma to the Top won for the seventh time in 16 lifetime starts for Miller and owners Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, and Kevin Tsujihara.
The 3-year-old gelding was Hollywood's horse of the meet during the the 2010 fall/winter stand after winning the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) on turf and the Real Quiet Stakes and CashCall Futurity (gr. I) on Cushion Track. He has won three of six starts over the surface.
Runner-up in this year's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Comma to the Top had been sidelined since chipping an ankle after finishing last in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 7.
Comma to the Top had one prior start in his comeback, finishing ninth in the Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. I) at Hollywood Nov. 26. His latest victory snapped a five-race losing streak while extending his earnings to $812,200.
Four-year-old Indian Firewater, winner of the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) for trainer Bob Baffert in January, led Comma to the Top by a head while carving swift early fractions of :22.77 and :45.14. Comma to the Top, tugging Talamo along on the outside, took a short lead into the stretch and battled Indian Firewater to the furlong marker. He drove clear late under urging while drifting out.
Comma to the Top, carrying 117 pounds, paid $9, $3.40, $2.40 as the third choice in the field of five. Bred in Florida by Richard and Linda Thompson, the bay is out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Maggies Storm.
Indian Firewater ($2.60, $2.10), ridden under 122 pounds by Martin Garcia, finished 3 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Canonize ($2.40).