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COMMA TO THE TOP, JAYCITO HEAD SUNDAY’S ONE-MILE, $65,000 BIG BEAR HANDICAP AT SANTA ANITA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2012)—Speedy Comma to the Top, who has sprinted in seven of his last eight starts, will stretch out to one mile on Sunday as he faces four other experienced rivals in Santa Anita’s $65,000 Big Bear Handicap for 3-year-olds and up.
Second, beaten a head in the 2011 Santa Anita Derby, Comma to the Top comes off a solid fourth, beaten two lengths, in Santa Anita’s Grade III Eddie D Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on turf Sept. 28.
Although he has been sprinting of late, Comma to the Top registered three consecutive route victories to close out his juvenile season, culminated by the Grade I CashCall Futurity at 1 1/16 miles in December, 2010.
It is expected that Comma to the Top will utilize his speed early in the Big Bear and attempt wire to wire tactics under Corey Nakatani, who hasn’t ridden him since the 2011 Santa Anita Derby.
Owned by Barber, Birnbaum and Tsujihara, the 4-year-old gelding by Bwana Charlie is trained by Peter Miller. He has earnings of $922,096 from a record of 22-9-2-1.
Jaycito, a winner of the Grade I Norfolk at Santa Anita in October 2010, figures to attract considerable pari-mutuel attention on Sunday. A winner of a first-condition allowance over Del Mar’s Polytrack on July 22 when going 1 1/16 miles, he was never a factor in the Grade I Pacific Classic on Aug. 26 at 1 ¼ miles.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Jaycito was ridden in the Pacific Classic by Rafael Bejarano but will be reunited on Sunday with Joe Talamo, who guided him to victory on July 22. The 4-year-old Victory Gallop colt has a stalking style and should employ similar tactics on Sunday. Owned by Zayat Stables, he has a 10-2-4-0 record and $343,900 in earnings.
Tres Borrachos, a 7-year-old gelding by Ecton Park, is the leading money earner in the Big Bear field, with $949,543 in the bank. Third in the one-turn Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, 2011, the Marty Jones trainee has two thirds from three lifetime tries at the distance.
In his most recent start, the one mile Harry F. Brubaker on Sept. 1, he was sent to the lead from his rail post position and ended up fourth, beaten two lengths on Polytrack. Tres Borrachos drew the rail again in the Big Bear, and it’s expected that Garrett Gomez, who will be riding veteran for the first time, will have him forwardly placed early.
Owned by George Hicker and the Button Stable, Tres Borrachos has a career mark of 41-4-4-6.
Rafael Bejarano will ride the lone 3-year-old in Sunday’s field, Shaun Washington. A game allowance winner at the distance on Aug. 12 at Del Mar, he weakened in the one-mile El Cajon on Aug. 31, finishing fourth in a field of five, beaten six lengths. Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer and owned by Madden, Williams and partners, “Shaun” has an off-the-pace style that could suit him well.
Owner/trainer Myung Kwon Cho will send out Riveting Reason, who, although he comes off two sub-par efforts at Del Mar, has solid two-turn credentials and could be part of a hotly contested early pace from his outside post position.
The complete field for the Big Bear Stakes, which will be run as the third race on a nine-race program Sunday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Tres Borrachos, Garrett Gomez, 121; Jaycito, Joe Talamo, 119; Comma to the Top, Corey Nakatani, 122; Shaun Washington, Rafael Bejarano, 114, and Riveting Reason, Edwin Maldonado, 113.
First post time on Sunday is 1 p.m.