Hollywood Crashes Kentucky Derby With Comma to the Top

10:56 AM PST 05/07/2011 by Paul Bond
AP Photo/Benoit Photo

WBHE chief Kevin Tsujihara and MGM's Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum own the underdog racehorse.

Three Hollywood executives accustomed to onscreen Cinderella stories are living one, courtesy of an underdog racehorse headed to the Kentucky Derby.

Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, head honchos at the restructured MGM, along with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara, purchased their thoroughbred a year ago for $21,000, and they recently rejected offers to sell him for $1 million. That's because Comma to the Top has won six races and $778,000.

Now, the gelding is headed to the Derby on May 7, where he could pick up another $1.2 million with a win.

Barber has been in racing for more than a decade, but Birnbaum and Tsujihara are novices.

One handicapper and blood-stock expert predicts Comma to the Top will go off as an 8-1 shot. He'll be quick out of the gate but will have to outrun Dialed In, who likes to come from behind and will probably be the favorite.

But the fact that Comma to the Top is even in the conversation is an unlikely turn of events. "There are guys who spend $10 million a year trying to get one horse in their lifetime to run in this race and never get one," the expert says. "These guys did it with a $21,000 horse -- and for two of them, it's their first purchase. Quite a story."

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