12/13/2010 1:38PM

Comma to the Top looking for place on Kentucky Derby trail

Benoit & Associates
Comma to the Top is a heavy favorite to begin his 3-year-old season with a win in the Grade 3 El Camino Real at Golden Gate Fields.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Two months ago, Comma to the Top was believed to be best as a sprinter. It was the right assessment at the time, but it needed revision. Comma to the Top has developed into a successful router and taken an important role in major two-turn races at the end of his 2-year-old season.

The outlook for his campaign will be further defined Saturday when Comma to the Top starts in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park. He could be on the Kentucky Derby trail with a big result in the Grade 1 race. A loss may leave him back in the sprint division.

For now, trainer Peter Miller is aiming high.

Comma to the Top has won his last two starts around two turns – the Real Quiet Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 6 and the Grade 3 Generous Stakes over a mile on turf Nov. 27 – leading throughout.

One thing is certain about Comma to the Top’s role in the CashCall Futurity: The gelding will be fighting for the lead.

“There’s no reason he can’t do it again,” Miller said. “We’re not going to change anything. He’s won four in a row on the front end. If someone gets crazy, he can sit.”

The current winning streak includes two six-furlong races at Golden Gate Fields in October – a starter allowance and an allowance race. The Grade 1 CashCall Futurity will be Comma to the Top’s 10th start. Owned by a partnership led by Gary Barber, Comma to the Top was sixth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity over seven furlongs on Sept. 8, his last start at that level.

Comma to the Top showed his sharpness Sunday, with a five-furlong workout in 59.40 seconds at Hollywood Park. Miller said Comma to the Top worked in company, began behind the stablemate, and finished last quarter-mile in 22.20.

“I’d never had a horse come home in 22 and 1 in a five-eighths workout,” Miller said.

There will be plenty of runners in the CashCall Futurity. The expected field of 13 includes the stakes winners Clubhouse Ride, Gourmet Dinner, J P’s Gusto, Rustler Hustler, and Slammer Time; Awesome Patriot, Industry Leader, and Riveting Reason, who have placed in stakes; as well as Boxeur des Rues, Crimson China, High Level Jeff, and Ronin Dax.

Prayer for Relief, who was second to Comma to the Top in the Real Quiet Stakes, will pass the race, trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday.