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Comma to the Top doing good following second race in a week

Comma to the Top fought his way to victory in the Tom Fool (Bud Morton/EquiSport Photos)

Trainer Peter Miller said he didn't expect Comma to the Top to pull out a victory in Saturday's Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct after he lost the lead in the stretch, but wasn't surprised by the five-year-old gelding's tenacity.

"I thought he was beaten and that he was going to finish third," Miller said. "The horse and (jockey Joel Rosario) are both so strong and so good. I give a lot of credit to Joel for getting him to come back. It was an amazing race from an amazing horse."

The Tom Fool was Comma to the Top's second start in the span of a week as he had finished third in the Grade 2 San Carlos on February 23 at Santa Anita.

"We put ourselves out there and a lot of people were second guessing the decision (to ship Comma to the Top from California to New York for the Tom Fool), but I live with the horse seven days a week and know the horse," Miller asserted.

The trainer added that Comma to the Top, who departed New York for California early Sunday morning, likely will make his next start within four to six weeks and that there's a "very good chance" it will be the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap on April 6.

The bay son of Bwana Charlie was making just his second start outside of California in the Tom Fool, with his previous coming as an off-the-board run in the 2011 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, said that Godolphin Racing's Consortium, fourth in the Tom Fool, could face a rematch with Comma to the Top in the Carter.

"He came out great," Magnuson said. "Unlucky at the break, a little flat-footed, but good run, good fight. We'd absolutely look at the Carter -- good timing."

The Bernardini four-year-old entered the Tom Fool owning just one other stakes try and his only other off-the-board run: a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in January 2012.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez expressed no disappointment over Head Heart Hoof's third-place finish in the Tom Fool. The seven-year-old son of Intidab was exiting a half-length victory in the the Grade 3 Toboggan on February 2.

"It was one of the best races he's ever run," Rodriguez said of Head Heart Hoof's performance in the Tom Fool. "I was more impressed to see him hang around with that type of horses than what he did last time (in the Toboggan). I know last time he was a winner, but it looked like he had (Comma to the Top) beat. (Comma to the Top) was just better than us, but I was very, very happy with the way he ran. He was going very good, very comfortable.

"The last time (jockey Cornelio Velasquez) took a nice hold of him. Yesterday, (Velasquez) was able to let him relax and move along very comfortably with another horse. For a moment, it looked like he was going to sprint away from (Comma to the Top)."

Owner Mike Repole had two runners on Aqueduct's Saturday card -- Overanalyze (Dixie Union), who finished fifth in the Grade 3 Gotham, and New York-bred Johannesburg Smile (Johannesburg), the seventh-place finisher in the Tom Fool following a runner-up effort to Head Heart Hoof in the Toboggan.

"He pulled up well," said Whit Beckman, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "I think with yesterday's track he would have been better being forwardly placed -- with his running style, he wasn't going to get there. I think a little more distance is going to be in his near future. He looked like he was getting strongest about the time the wire hit, and I think a little more ground would have been our answer there."

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