Grade 1 winners Comma to the Top, Smiling Tiger highlight Underwood
by BRIS
Date Posted: 11/29/2012 9:03:18 PM
Last Updated: 12/5/2012 2:58:03 PM

Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood drew a short but salty field of seven at Hollywood Park. Grade 1 winners Comma to the Top and Smiling Tiger are logical win challengers given their recent form, but Capital Account, Fast Bullet and Private Zone also merit respect in the six-furlong event.

Comma to the Top recorded his Grade 1 tally in the 2010 CashCall Futurity on the Cushion Track and enters the Underwood off a score in the one-mile Big Bear Handicap at Santa Anita. The Peter Miller trainee is very capable at Sunday's distance, posting three wins, including the Pirate's Bounty three starts back at Del Mar, and Corey Nakatani will retain the mount on the front runner.

Multiple Grade 1 hero Smiling Tiger returned from a five-month freshening with a big effort in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, rallying from off the pace for third, and the Jeff Bonde charge owns a three-for-four mark at Hollywood. The chestnut five-year-old also receives a switch to leading rider Rafael Bejarano. They figure to be rolling late.

Capital Account never fired when 12th in the Sprint, but the Bob Baffert pupil turned in a pair of top-class performances before that, winning the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien at Del Mar before a head second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. David Flores will retain the mount on the stalker. Fast Bullet is an uncoupled stablemate who recorded a respectable sixth when making his stakes debut in the Sprint off a 12-month layoff. The quick four-year-old colt captured his first two starts in excellent fashion, including a smart allowance tally at Hollywood, and Fast Bullet could be prominent early with Joe Talamo.

Private Zone will be tested for class, but the up-and-coming sophomore exits a pair of encouraging efforts for Doug O'Neill, finishing third in the rich Gallant Bob at Parx Racing before a good second in the Damascus on the Breeders' Cup Saturday undercard. Martin Pedroza retains the mount on the speedster.

Smash will return to action off more than an 11-month hiatus for Baffert, finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Malibu before heading to the sidelines. The four-year-old colt does owns a 4-3-1-0 mark on the Cushion Track. Recent allowance/optional claiming victor Bank the Eight completes the field.

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