06/27/2013 3:10PM

Hollywood Park: Comma to the Top won't back down if challenged in Triple Bend


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Comma to the Top earned a fan in jockey Edwin Maldonado when the gelding won the Tom Fool Handicap by a nose at Aqueduct on March 2.

Watching from Southern California, Maldonado was impressed the way that Comma to the Top fought off persistent challengers through the stretch.

“It was the way he did it,” Maldonado said. “He had horses inside and outside of him and fought back and won. He never had a chance to relax.”

The same scenario could occur when Comma to the Top starts in Saturday’s $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park. The race is part of the Breeders’ Cup’s Win and You’re In Program, offering a fees-paid berth to the BC Dirt Mile at Santa Anita in November.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

The Grade 1 Triple Bend is run over seven furlongs, and will be a test for Comma to the Top. The race has drawn an excellent field of nine, including last year's winner, Camp Victory, and the Grade 1 winners Drill, Jimmy Creed, Morning Line, and Rail Trip.

Comma to the Top won the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity over 1 1/16 miles here in 2010, but has thrived in sprints in the last six months.

Since Comma to the Top’s win in the Grade  3 Tom Fool Handicap over six furlongs, Maldonado has ridden him to a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita in April and consecutive wins here in the Cool Frenchy Stakes over five furlongs on May 4 and the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap over six furlongs on May 27.

[HOLLYWOOD PARK: Get PPs, watch Saturday’s full card live]

Trained by Peter Miller, Comma to the Top was third, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes over seven furlongs on Feb. 23, his last attempt at that distance. Considering the 5-year-old’s recent form, Maldonado is confident Comma to the Top is capable of winning on Saturday.

“I would think it would be easier for him,” Maldonado said of the distance. “We can wait for them to come to him. He likes a fight.”

The closers will be coming. While Comma to the Top may be the dominant front-runner, there will be plenty of talented runners in pursuit, notably Camp Victory, Jimmy Creed, and Rail Trip.

Camp Victory is winless in five starts since the 2012 Triple Bend, and was third in the Los Angeles Handicap. Rail Trip has not started since finishing second in the BC Dirt Mile at Santa Anita last November.

Jimmy Creed won two sprint stakes at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting – the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in December and the Potrero Grande Stakes.

Trainer Richard Mandella considered sending Jimmy Creed to the Metropolitan Mile at Belmont Park on May 27 but skipped the race when the 4-year-old worked poorly.

“He had a bad work and I couldn’t explain it,” Mandella said. “I couldn’t put him on a plane when I wasn’t impressed with the work. I think he had a bad day, but he’s come back to do great. I would expect him to run at his best.”

Mark More than 1 year ago
Camp repeat
Irfan Durrani More than 1 year ago
drill......cash him ...good luck
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Mention 4 other horses but no mention of Centralinteligence? If he's not in your trifecta ticket you won't cash.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Interesting that the cushion track is very fast and playing to speed. At least it was yesterday where all but two won wire to wire, and the other two winners were from a close stalking second postion. Don't expect that to change. And, it will not be lost on the trainers or jocks. So, all the speed will want the lead in true CA style. Won't that be fun.
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
Seven furlongs seems just a bit much for Comma to the Top. My figures lean toward Jimmy Creed . I will publish later...
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
Each rating is parsed according to the FPS measured inside the corresponding race segment. 1 point is equivalent to 1 length. The numbers are based on par for point of call, specific for that distance and number of turns. Jimmy Creed will need to reproduce his Malibu Stakes performance to have a shot. Camp Victory (last year's winner) keeps taking the same road leading up to this race; he is definitely in this. Morning Line 76.7 - 86.1 - 77.7 - 26.9 66.8 avg 88.9 - 86.2 - 85.6 - 75.5 84.1 avg Jimmy Creed 95.3 - 95.2 - 77.8 - 54.8 80.8 avg 88.0 - 96.9 - 83.3 - 85.8 88.5 avg Rail Trip 91.1 - 81.9 - 79.9 - 90.8 85.9 avg 79.2 - 92.5 - 78.9 - 51.6 75.6 avg Comma to the Top 95.7 - 100.0 - 85.1 - 62.2 85.7 avg 99.9 - 96.7 - 62.4 86.3 avg Drill 82.1 - 90.7 - 80.8 - 89.0 85.6 avg 81.5 - 98.4 - 102.3 - 81.5 90.9 avg Cyclometer 96.1 - 92.8 - 73.4 - 66.1 82.1 avg 95.6 - 104.0 - 58.6 - 29.8 72.0 avg Centralintelligence 93.7 - 99.1 - 80.3 - 74.8 87.0 avg 92.7 - 98.0 - 76.6 89.1 avg Tres Borrachos 82.2 - 80.2 - 85.9 - 73.1 80.3 avg 87.4 - 84.9 - 81.2 - 87.6 85.3 avg Camp Victory 91.8 - 99.1 - 82.7 - 70.6 86.0 avg 92.0 - 97.6 - 70.1 - 53.6 78.3 avg
John Smith More than 1 year ago
Even if Comma To The Top wins this, i cant believe he would use the free trip into the Breeders Cup dirt mile. With the BC being at Santa Anita and the mile being around two turns, its not to his advantage. He would be better off in the sprint. This is one west coast horse that needed the BC mile to be run at CD, Bel, or GP around one turn.
Max Power More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best G1 sprint fields ever put together outside of Breeder's Cup Sprints, can't wait.
Paul Ferg More than 1 year ago
First we have "Run Em' Barry" (Abrams ) and now looks as though Peter Miller has inherited the same trait. Sqeezing the lemon dry.......won't hit the board......
John Smith More than 1 year ago
lol @ "Run Em Barry" comment. I think the DRF should give his horses the double line layoff if he doesnt start a horse for 30 days or more.
matt More than 1 year ago
Comparing a 7% trainer to a 19% one will always win you arguments.
John More than 1 year ago
The 4 bandages on Comma are because he hits himself..................its not because he is sore or has bad ankles, from the beginning I read where it was a problem with the horse . Look at the bandgages next time , they are like little knee pads . Dead Game Horse ....
John More than 1 year ago
Excellent race ! I have a feeling that Rail Trip is going to fire a big race ! I had the winner of the BC Mile, Tapizar, but didnt use Rail Trip which was bad handicapping on my part . Having a $30 horse on top, I should have at least done a $5 wheel..................poor poor pittiful me ! Anyway, Ellis is excellent with layoffs, plus Rail Trip was an awesome sprinter early in his career..................he wouldnt start him out at 7fur if he didnt think he had it in him !
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
Tough distance to return at. Ellis may be using this to get him ready for Del Mar.