Millionaire and seven-time stakes winner Comma to the Top heads a field of eight sprinters signed up to face the starter in the $150,000 Potrero Grande Stakes at Santa Anita Park April 6. The 6 1/2 furlong test has attracted a bevy of stakes winners, but none more accomplished than the 5-year-old gelding conditioned by Peter Miller.
Comma to the Top came to hand late in his 2-year-old season in 2010, winning in succession the Real Quiet Stakes and Generous Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park that November, and returning to Hollywood to take the CashCall Futurity in December. A second in the 2011 Santa Anita Derby led to an ill-advised trip to the Kentucky Derby, where the Bwana Charlie gelding set the tempo for a mile before fading to last. Instead of being ruined by that experience, however, Comma to the Top showed his toughness in 2012 at age 4, winning half his eight starts including the Daytona Stakes.
POTRERO GRANDE STAKES DRAW
This season, he again showed his toughness, running second in the Feb. 23 San Carlos Stakes before shipping cross-country and seven days later winning the Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack March 2. Comma to the Top, owned by Gary Barber, has won 12 of 28 lifetime starts and earned $1,180,696. He is one-for-three lifetime at the Potrero Grande distance.
Starting just outside Comma to the Top will be Camp Victory, a 6-year-old gelding by Forest Camp who won the Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood last June. Since then, his best race was the Aug. 26 Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar, where he finished third. His most recent outing was an 11th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Nov. 3. He has banked better than $547,000 in his career.
The third Grade 1 winner in the Potrero Grande is highweight Jimmy Creed, victor in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita last Dec. 26, his last trip to the post. Jimmy Creed, owned by Spendthrift Farm and trained by Richard Mandella, won the Malibu off a ninth-place result in the Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint last November. He has hit the board in six of his seven lifetime starts and earned $313,000. He will give between three and five pounds to the field.
Trainer Bob Baffert will be represented by Apriority, a 6-year-old son of Grand Slam who has finished first or second in 13 of his 24 lifetime starts. Apriority finished seventh and last in his lone 2013 effort in the Palos Verdes Stakes. His best season came back in 2011 when he won the Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park while running second in the Carter Handicap, Churchill Downs Stakes, and Sunshine Millions Sprint. Apriority will be looking to add to his $453,683 in career earnings.
Unbridled's Note has won his only 2013 start, that in the Joe Hernandez Stakes on Santa Anita's downhill turf course, over which he also took last year's Eddie D. Stakes. He put up a pair of thirds last summer at Saratoga Race Course, first in the Amsterdam Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs, then in the seven-furlong Foxwoods King's Bishop Stakes. Unbridled's Note ran three lengths behind Jimmy Creed, finishing third in the Malibu.
Second City was purchased by Paul Reddam after his victory in last September's British Columbia Derby at Hastings Park. Stepped up to the Indiana Derby and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Second City ran far back both times. In his only 2013 start he was second in the Super Bowl Party Starter Handicap going a mile on turf at Santa Anita Feb. 3.
Rounding at the field are Haverhill, who was claimed for $16,000 in December by Gary Barber out of an allowance/optional claimer at Gulfstream that he won by nine lengths, and Italian Rules, who was claimed in February for $40,000, and who finished 12 lengths behind Camp Victory in the Triple Bend. The 8-year-old won the Stinson Beach Stakes at Golden Gate Field as a 3-year-old in 2008.