03/02/2013 6:42PM

Aqueduct: Comma to the Top refuses to lose in Tom Fool

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Michael Amoruso
Comma to the Top, ridden by Joel Rosario, fights back to nip Saturday's Charm (3) by a nose in the Tom Fool.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Comma to the Top was caught late in last Saturday’s San Carlos at Santa Anita, and he was caught late once again in the Tom Fool Handicap on Saturday at Aqueduct. Only this time, the jet-setting Comma to the Top battled back to win by a nose over Saturday’s Charm, thereby putting an exclamation point on a busy week.

Comma to the Top flashed his California speed to grab the early lead while kept well out in the track by Joel Rosario, and ran the first quarter in a manageable 22.92 seconds while pressed by Head Heart Hoof.

Leaving the turn, Comma to the Top came wider still after a half-mile in 46.29 seconds, with Head Heart Hoof still breathing down his neck, and maintained a short lead coming to the eighth pole by running the fifth furlong in an enervating 11.85 seconds.

Comma to the Top looked to be in deep water at that point as Consortium rallied along the rail, Saturday’s Charm swept up on the far outside, and Head Heart Hoof refused to go away.

Saturday’s Charm, off slowest and widest into the lane, forged to the lead in deep stretch to loom an almost certain winner, but Comma to the Top came back in the final strides to prevail by a nose, with Head Heart Hoof one length farther back in third and Consortium a neck after that.

“He tries hard, this horse,” said Rosario. “To come here and show up like that, he’s something special. He hung on there and kept going. I didn’t know whether I had won. It was tough. I’m glad for the horse he won.”

Comma to the Top, whose only prior start outside California was a last-place finish in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, carried top weight of 118 pounds and paid $6.30 to win as the favorite in the field of 10 older sprinters, after running six furlongs in 1:10.26 on a fast inner track.

Already a millionaire and a graded stakes winner on turf, synthetic and dirt, he improved to 12-2-2 from 28 career starts for trainer Peter Miller.

“The horse performed pretty well [in the San Carlos]…so we took a shot, considering the horse came out of it very good,” said assistant trainer Martin Contreras, who accompanied the 5-year-old gelding to New York. “This guy is a tough fighter, and when he’s in his right moment he fights pretty tough.”