10/21/2012 6:07PM

Santa Anita: Comma to the Top gives Nakatani happy birthday in Big Bear

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Benoit & Associates
Corey Nakatani celebrates his 42nd birthday by winning the Big Bear Handicap aboard Comma to the Top

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockey Corey Nakatani celebrated his 42nd birthday in style on Sunday at Santa Anita by guiding favored Comma to the Top to a front-running victory in the $66,000 Big Bear Handicap, an overnight for older horses.

Comma to the Top ($4.80) just lasted to win by a half-length over Tres Borrachos, with Jaycito a neck farther back in third in the field of five. Shaun Washington and Riveting Reason were far back.

Comma to the Top completed one mile on the fast main track in 1:35.98 following splits of 23.48 seconds, 46.53, and 1:10.31.

Nakatani was presented in the winner’s circle with a dessert of fruit and shortcake, which he gave immediately to Matthew Willman, the 10-year-old son of Mike Willman, Santa Anita’s publicity director.

“When you’re 42, it’s just another day,” Nakatani said. “At the end of the day I’ll be able to eat, maybe a little dinner with my wife.”

Matthew Willman, who did not have to worry about making weight, devoured the dessert minutes later in the press box.

Comma to the Top, trained by Peter Miller, won for the 10th time in 23 starts. He was fourth down the hill in the Eddie D. Stakes last time out on opening day on Sept. 28, but prior to that won the Pirates Bounty at Del Mar on Sept. 5.

Now age 4, the biggest win for Comma to the Top, a gelding, came in the CashCall Futurity nearly two years ago. He has earned more than $960,000 for the partnership of Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, and Kevin Tsujihara.