Richard Pell's Calculator has run in all kinds of races, but it's become apparent that he does his best work on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita Park.
The $75,000 Clockers' Corner Stakes Jan. 28 was just the most recent example, and the gray son of In Summation remained undefeated in three tries down the hill with an impressive one-length win over Peter Miller-trained stablemate Fly to Mars.
What was different Sunday from every other run in his 20-race career, however, was that Calculator was on the lead. Under jockey Flavien Prat, the 6-year-old horse didn't break best but shot to the front immediately and set rapid fractions of :20.85 and :43.22 through a half-mile. Perfectly Majestic loomed with a closing bid in the stretch, but couldn't get to the winner, and Fly to Mars just got up on the inside to edge him for second late. Calculator finished off the distance of about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:12.08 on firm turf.
"He broke really good and I just decided to make the lead," said Prat, who was aboard Calculator for the first time. "I knew the fractions were fast, but he was comfortable. ... He was the best horse."
A grade 3 winner way back in the Sham Stakes in January of 2015, Calculator won his return from a 13-month layoff in a dirt allowance in February of 2016 and has won three races since. Those three have all been sprinting down the hillside turf course.
"I thought he ran huge," said Miller's assistant, Ruben Alvarado. "He's more mature now, and we're looking for a big year with him."
Sent off as the 4-5 favorite in a field of six older horses, Calculator returned $3.80, $2.60, and $2.10 while Fly to Mars brought $3.20 and $2.60. After Perfectly Majestic ($2.80) came Jimmy Bouncer, The Critical Way, and Sycamore Lane to complete the order of finish.
Bred in Florida by Ocala Stud out of the Alphabet Soup mare Back to Basics, Calculator sold to Miller as agent for $132,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Spring 2014 sale of 2-year-olds in training. He now has a 5-5-4 record and $642,560 in earnings. Along with his two stakes wins, he's also placed in the 2017 Pat O'Brien Stakes (G2), the 2016 Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), the 2016 Carter Handicap (G1), and the 2016 San Carlos Stakes (G2).