12/30/2010 4:47PM

Work will determine Comma to the Top's next start

Benoit & Associates
Comma to the Top, winning the CashCall Futurity, will make his 2011 debut Feb. 12 in either the Robert Lewis at Santa Anita or the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

ARCADIA, Calif. − Comma to the Top, the top 3-year-old in California, will make his 2011 debut Feb. 12 in a stakes at Santa Anita or Golden Gate Fields.

Trainer Peter Miller said Wednesday that the $250,000 Robert Lewis Stakes over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita or the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby over 1 1/8 miles at Golden Gate Fields will be Comma to the Top’s next start.

The decision will be based on how Comma to the Top works later this month on Santa Anita’s newly installed sand-and-clay track, Miller said. The El Camino Real is run over a Tapeta synthetic surface.

“I’ll breeze him at Santa Anita, and we’ll see how he breezes and how the race comes up,” Miller said.

A start over 1 1/8 miles will be the longest race of Comma to the Top’s career. Comma to the Top has won 6 of 10 starts and $551,600, including his final three starts of 2010. The winning streak includes the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 18.

“He’s going to have to try it,” Miller said of 1 1/8 miles.

Miller said he intends to give Comma to the Top two races before the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9, in advance of the Kentucky Derby on May 7.

“I’d like to run him three times before the Derby,” Miller said.

J P’s Gusto and Clubhouse Ride, second and third in the CashCall Futurity, are being considered for the Lewis, their trainers said earlier this week.

Dance With Gable’s streak on line

Dance With Gable risks a three-race perfect record on Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in Saturday’s $100,000 Daytona Stakes. His form in the late fall in turf sprints at Hollywood Park has left trainer Mike Machowsky expecting more success.

“I’ve been waiting to get him down the hill,” Machowsky said. “He’s run great every time I’ve run him. It just suits the way he runs.”

Dance With Gable, 7, has won 5 of 8 starts on turf, including the Wild Harmony Stakes over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28. A gelding, he has won half of his 10 starts since being claimed for $40,000 at Del Mar in August 2009. His only loss in three starts at Santa Anita in that span was a seventh in the Joe Hernandez Stakes here last March, a race that was transferred from the turf course to the main track.

Dance With Gable drew the rail in the Grade 3 Daytona, which is run over about 6 1/2 furlongs. He will be ridden by Joe Talamo, who was aboard for the Wild Harmony when Dance with Gable led throughout.

“He can be on the lead or sit right off of them,” Machowsky said of Dance With Gable. “He needs a comfortable trip.”

Afleet Ruler, second in the Wild Harmony, is a threat from off the pace but must hold off the closer Quick Enough, who had mixed form in stakes in the fall.

Quick Enough won the Grade 3 Morvich Handicap at Hollywood on Oct. 11, finished a troubled 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 6, and was second to Cost of Freedom in the Miles Tyson at five furlongs on the main track Dec. 11.

“The horse just ran away with it,” Quick Enough’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, said of Cost of Freedom.

The Daytona will be Quick Enough’s first start on the hillside turf course since a third in an optional claimer in April 2009.

Baffert juveniles on a roll

Awesome Patriot’s win in an allowance race for 2-year-olds Wednesday gave trainer Bob Baffert his third victory with a juvenile in the first three days of the meeting.

Baffert made it four wins in four days in that category in Thursday’s first race, when Star Presence won a maiden race for 2-year-old fillies.

Awesome Patriot has won 2 of 4 starts. Wednesday’s race was his first start around two turns.
Baffert said he did not have stakes plans for Awesome Patriot or The Factor or Uncle Sam, who won maiden races Sunday and Monday. The Factor ran six furlongs in track record time of 1:06.98.

Wednesday’s allowance race won by Awesome Patriot was run on a wet-fast track, which led trainer Eoin Harty to withdraw Anthony’s Cross. Harty said Anthony’s Cross will be pointed for the $100,000 Sham Stakes over 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds on Jan. 15.