03/09/2016 1:50PM

Calculator may have found niche in San Carlos

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Calculator, winning his first start in 13 months, will be pointed to races from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles.

ARCADIA, Calif. – This might be the year Calculator reaches his potential.

Last month, the 4-year-old Calculator returned from a 13-month layoff to win an optional claimer here at seven furlongs. On Saturday, he starts in the $300,000 San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs.

The Grade 2 San Carlos might be typical of the races that owner Richard Pell and trainer Peter Miller target for Calculator in 2016. In January 2015, Calculator won the Grade 3 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile. He did not start again for the rest of the year after suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture in training. The injury required surgery to insert stabilizing screws and ended Calculator’s 3-year-old season.

“I don’t think he was a classic-distance horse,” Miller said. “There were an awful lot of good races he could have run in, like the King’s Bishop.”

The King’s Bishop is run at Saratoga during the summer for 3-year-old sprinters.

Calculator has won 2 of 6 starts and earned $228,300. At 2, he was second to American Pharoah in two Grade 1 races – the Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs and the FrontRunner Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

In his comeback last month, Calculator had every excuse to lose. Sent off at even-money, Calculator broke slowly, rallied five wide, and won by a neck. He threw a shoe and grabbed a quarter, Miller said after the race.

A successful race for Calculator in the San Carlos could lead to a trip to Churchill Downs for the $400,000 Alysheba Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on May 6 or the $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes at seven furlongs May 7. Those distances should suit Calculator, Miller said.

“I think he could go a middle distance, but I don’t know he’d want to go a mile and a quarter,” he said. ”He might go up to a mile and a sixteenth.”

Calculator is part of a strong field in the San Carlos Stakes that is expected to include Kobe’s Back, the winner of the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes at six furlongs Feb. 7, and Wild Dude, the winner of the 2015 San Carlos Stakes.

There are five stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, led by the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap. The $400,000 San Felipe Stakes for 3-year-olds is led by the multiple stakes winners Mor Spirit and Smokey Image.

The leading turf race Saturday is the $400,000 Frank Kilroe Mile. The stakes winners Bal a Bali, Bolo, Midnight Storm, Om, and What a View are all capable of winning a highly competitive race.