Florida-bred Little Mike met 50 of his fans on Sunday at Gulfstream Park.
The 50 raffle winners were taken on an escorted tour of the barn area before stopping at the barn of Dale Romans, trainer of Little Mike.
Romans, along with Little Mike’s breeder and owner Carlo Vaccarezza, answered questions from the fans before leading Little Mike out of his stall so fans could take pictures with him. Romans, honored recently with the Turf Publicists of America’s Big Sport of Turfdom Award, then led the crowd down his shedrow explaining the care that goes into each Thoroughbred. Romans, Vaccarezza and their staff offered guests cold drinks and snacks throughout the tour.
Daryl LaRouche, one of the raffle winners, said, “This is extremely gracious of Mr. Romans and Mr. Vaccarezza to allow us to come back here and meet them and Little Mike. I think it’s wonderful for fans to see something like this. Gulfstream, Mr. Romans and everyone have been extremely kind.”
Romans was asked questions about Little Mike, retired Preakness winner Shackleford, turf racing and how much it costs to own and race a horse. Romans praised his help several times throughout the morning.
When asked what his biggest achievement was so far, Romans said it was being able to work with many of the same people he started his career with. He also joked, “Surviving 25 years.”
Little Mike, a winner of five races (four stakes) at Gulfstream, is currently being prepared by Romans for a trip to Dubai in March for a possible start in the $5 million Golden Sheema. Romans told his guests the gelding may run first in the Gulfstream Park Turf in Feb. 9.
The Little Mike meet and greet was part of a raffle to raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and Thoroughbred aftercare.
–Gulfstream Park Publicity contributed to this report.
Little Mike/Coglianese photo