01/10/2015 8:29PM

Calculator kicks off 3-year-old season with dominating win in Sham

Benoit Photo
Calculator wins the Sham Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Calculator hadn’t run since September, his trainer warned he wasn’t fully cranked up for his comeback Saturday in the Sham Stakes, and Calculator was fanned five paths wide on the first turn and three paths wide on the far turn. Add all that up, using an abacus, your fingers, or a calculator, and it often results in a loss, but Calculator overcame it all while rolling to a dominating 4 1/4-length victory at Santa Anita.

A maiden entering the race, Calculator ($3.20) was heavily favored despite the layoff, owing to his outstanding 2-year-old form, having twice finished second in Grade 1 races to American Pharoah. And while the field for the Sham – a Grade 3, $100,750 race – might not prove to be the strongest prep this spring for 3-year-olds, the manner in which Calculator performed was exemplary.

“I wasn’t expecting that, honestly,” said his trainer, Peter Miller, who also finished second with Rock Shandy and fourth with St. Joe Bay. “I was hoping he was good enough to win, but the water gets deeper from here on out, so we’re going to have to step up our game and move forward off this one.”

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

Calculator completed one mile on the fast main track in 1:34.88. The track was much faster than par owing to it being sealed, then lightly harrowed before the races because of expected rain. The rain was light much of the day, was a bit stronger just prior to the Sham, then stopped when the race ended. The track never took on much water.

The Sham win was worth 10 points toward a berth in the May 2 Kentucky Derby on the point system used by Churchill Downs to determine the Derby field if more than the maximum 20 horses enter.

Rock Shandy, making his first start on dirt after three grass races, was no match for his stablemate but finished 4 1/4 lengths clear of third-place Pioneerof the West, who finished a half-length in front of St. Joe Bay.

Papacoolpapacool was fifth and was followed, in order, by Hero Ten All, Unblunted, and Rockinatten.

Calculator raced four times at age 2. After a pair of starts against maidens, he was second to American Pharoah in both the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Stakes. In the FrontRunner, he finished in front of Texas Red, who subsequently won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Calculator missed the Breeders’ Cup with a foot bruise suffered the day before the race. He then was pointed to the Los Alamitos Futurity but missed that because of illness. He only had three works after missing training time in December. Miller figured he wasn’t going to be at his best just yet.

“You’re always guessing as trainers,” he said. “The horse ran really well.”

Calculator started from post 7 in the eight-horse field and found himself fanned wide heading into the first turn. Miller said he thought jockey Elvis Trujillo did a good job trying to drop in a couple lanes as the runners moved around the first turn.

“I was very worried,” Miller said. “He adjusted.”

Miller trains Calculator, a son of the sprinter In Summation, for owner Richard Pell, who bought Calculator last April at Ocala for $132,000.

tommy More than 1 year ago
Calculator is better than Dortmund and mr z!! Calculator ran a mile @ 1:34 !!!! Although it's a shame because the jockey did a poor job and this horse could have ran a mile @ 1:31 easily to make a track record!! He ran the number 7 calculator wide and he was not the pace maker which he clearly should do next time at bigger longer races !!
Walter More than 1 year ago
It is possible Calc has taken after his mom's side? That is Alphabet Soup, we know he could run long. I'm looking forward to see him develop. Hoping for the best!
tommy More than 1 year ago
Thank you calculator!! He finally broke his maiden!!!!! I now have data on you to calculate your vo2 max!!!! Next time I handicap I can say whether he will win or not!!!
Steven More than 1 year ago
I thought that Rock Shandy looked like a horse that will go on better for Miller than Calculator. Looked like he was hitting his stride just as race was ending.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
calculator ran faster than hoppertuniy and the older horses. just another sign of how poor the dirt racing was last year.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Stop the derby talk so early. He didn't have a shot in the world
Ron Rios More than 1 year ago
Calculator kicks off 3-year-old season with dominating win in Sham…. seriously he beat a bunch of turf races, if the KY Derby people had any guts they would take away points when only 1 horse in the field is worthy of earning points, this was a nothing win, and the great race place should be ashamed to have nobody even face calculator….
Bob Tutton More than 1 year ago
He looked impressive BUT. 1. He wasn't up against much. 2. His breeding says sprint. How far can he go 3.May is a long way down the road , and it only get tougher from here. But still it was a nice effort and a good story. Hopefully the connection will let the horse tell them and not the pot of gold at the end of the raibow.
Tom Gaeta More than 1 year ago
This is exactly the kind of improvement that makes a horse a bonafide Derby Win contender. He'll be fun to watch in the higher graded stakes.
Ron Rios More than 1 year ago
He beat nobody, it means nothing
Walter More than 1 year ago
He ran as if he liked a distance of ground. We will see how far he likes to go in the coming months.