12/30/2012 5:45PM

Santa Anita: Comma to the Top, Appealing Tale should factor in major stakes for Miller

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Benoit & Associates
Star sprinter Comma to the Top will be pointed to the Palos Verdes on Jan. 19.

With a 2-year-old and a veteran 4-year-old, trainer Peter Miller won races at Santa Anita on Saturday with horses who could be part of major stakes in coming months.

Miller won a maiden race over a mile on the main track with Appealing Tale, who was racing around two turns for the first time. Later in the day, Comma to the Top won the sixth race of his career in the $100,000 Daytona Stakes over six furlongs.

Appealing Tale was timed in 1:37.75, a win that will lead to a start in an allowance race in late January, if Miller has his way. He said he would prefer an allowance race to a stakes, such as the $200,000 Robert Lewis Stakes for 3-year-olds on Feb. 2.

If Appealing Tale runs well in his next start, Miller said a stakes will be considered later this winter.

“I’d like to run him through his condition before he runs in a stakes,” Miller said.

The maiden race win was Appealing Tale’s third start after a fourth and a third in sprints.

Comma to the Top led throughout the Daytona, which was scheduled for the hillside turf course but was transferred to the main track because of rain earlier in the day. He beat four rivals in a race that lost six runners after the surface switch.

Owned by Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara, Comma to the Top surpassed $1 million in career earnings in the Daytona. He has earned $1,027,696 in his 25-race career. The highlights include a win in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in 2010 and a second in the Santa Anita Derby in 2011.

Even though Comma to the Top will be a 5-year-old in 2013, “it just seems like he’s been around for a while,” Miller said.

Comma to the Top has won three stakes in his last five starts, including the Big Bear Handicap over a mile here in November. Miller said

Comma to the Top will be kept to sprints, with the $150,000 Palos Verdes Stakes over six furlongs on Jan. 19 as a likely next start.

Miller said that Reneesgotzip, who won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes in January 2012 and was second in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes on Dec. 26, has been turned out for the rest of the winter.

A 4-year-old filly in 2013, Reneesgotzip will be pointed for stakes in the second half of the year.

“We want to freshen her up,” Miller said. “She just needs a break. It’s a good time to do it. She runs hard and she’s a small filly.”

John More than 1 year ago
NOW ! This is how a trainer should treat his horse's ! Peter Miller takes his time, teaches his horse to run, but then gives them a break to freshen them up, not run run run them into the dust like "butcher baffert " does ! I enjoy handicapping with Miller having a horse in the races, you know you are not getting any games , but a horse trained well and placed in a winable spot ! Seems like a very nice guy ! Good for racing !
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Would you consider running a 2YO , Ten (10) times in the span of 7 months, from May 20 to Dec 18 alot? Even though the horse wins maiden in 3rd start and ends 2yo season with 3 straight wins in minor stakes ?
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Good for Comma to the Top. After a hail mary shot in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, Miller and the connections have done right by the horse, carefully choosing spots where the horse can be successful. At this point it appears Comma is just not quite good enough to win graded stakes, but clearly good enough to win listed stakes. The Daytona was originally a grade 3, but will undoubtedly lose its graded status after the surface switch and the scratches. As such, it represents Comma's 3rd win in a listed stakes since summer. And while Comma will be up against it in the Palos Verdes, he has certainly earned the opportunity to keep on trying graded stakes.