Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes is on tap for this Sunday, December 2 from Betfair Hollywood Park. Horses three years old and upward will be featured as they go six furlongs on Hollywood Park's all weather track in search of their share of the $100,000 purse.
A small but quality field of seven has been confirmed for the Vernon O. Underwood including three from the recent Breeders' Cup Sprint. It is race 8 on Hollywood Park's Sunday card with a post time of 4:05 PM. Here is a breakdown of all seven combatants and their past performances ahead of this Grade 3 race.
Comma to the Top - Grade 1 winner and Peter Miller trained gelding has won two of his last four starts and has three wins and a third in six starts this year. The wins include an Allowance score at Golden Gate on June 9, the minor Pirate's Bounty Stakes at Del Mar September 5 and the Big Bear Handicap last time out at Santa Anita October 21. He finished nineteenth in last year's Kentucky Derby, was sixth in the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort in December and was third in the Robert K Kerlan Memorial Handicap July 1 to name a few of his stakes results. He was fourth in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby and fourth in the Grade 3 Eddie D Stakes two back but has wins sandwiched around his most recent fourth. He is one contender that didn't race in the Breeders' Cup Sprint but still comes in as one to watch Sunday - he did have three stakes wins during a six week span on this track in 2010.
Smiling Tiger - multiple graded stakes winner finished third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last time out at 20-1 odds by three lengths. In four starts this year Smiling Tiger has just one other third place finish - at the Grade 2 True North Handicap June 9. That makes two thirds and two fifth place finishes in four starts this year but a third at the BC Sprint has Smiling Tiger on the radar for the Underwood. Three wins in four starts on this track and a penchant for winning big races helps as well!
Capital Account - finished a decent third in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby behind Amazombie and The Factor in his stakes debut for trainer Bob Baffert and went on to a most impressive win in the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien and a second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Last time out was a disappointing twelfth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at 7-1 odds. He has three wins, two seconds and a third in seven starts this and is yet another intriguing entry this weekend.
Fast Bullet - Bob Baffert trained colt has only three career starts - one this year - an OK sixth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He raced to a win last October in a Maiden Special Weight and in his other start in 2011 won an Allowance at Hollywood Park last November. With a race under his belt after a year away, Fast Bullet could be the surprise of the race.
Smash - another Bob Baffert trained entry will race for the first time since December - a seventh in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita. He has three wins and two second place finishes in six career starts and did have a very nice second at the Grade 2 Carry Back Stakes at Calder in July 2011 but he has been out of action for a year and is almost impossible to rely on in this one.
Private Zone - Canadian bred Doug O'Neill entry is coming off a good second at the minor Damascus Stakes at Santa Anita November 3 to follow a third in the competitive Gallant Bob at Parx September 22 and a fifth in the El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar in August. Not much is expected from Private Zone Sunday.
Bank the Eight - Bob Baffert pupil will be racing in graded stakes company for the first time on Sunday but is coming off a six length win in a seven furlong Allowance Optional Claiming race at Hollywood Park November 10 after a nearly four month layoff. He has five wins and two seconds in 10 career starts but takes a major step up in competition for the Underwood.