Little Mike, considered by many to be a top-notch miler, captured the 1 ¼-mile Arlington Million (G1) in August. On Saturday, under a perfectly-timed, patient ride from Ramon Dominguez, Little Mike proved that 1 ½ miles is within his scope as the son of former Florida sire Spanish Steps won the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf in the colors of Priscilla Vaccarezza.
When Dale Romans was asked what Little Mike’s best distance is, the conditioner replied: “Today, it’s a mile and a half. He’s a phenomenal horse. He’s an overachiever and he’s proven us all wrong. I don’t think any of us thought he could be more than a miler last year and now we don’t know where his limit is.”
Allowed to settle in third position early, Little Mike conceded the pace-setting chores to fellow Sunshine State runner Turbo Compressor. Dominguez was successful in getting Little Mike to relax through the beginning stages of the race, a key to being successful in negotiating a route of ground. Little Mike forged to the front in the stretch and gamely defeated Point of Entry, a rival seeking his sixth consecutive turf triumph, by a half-length. Little Mike was all heart in victory and covered the 1 ½ miles in 2:22.83. Last year’s winner St. Nicholas Abbey finished third.
Little Mike, who now boasts 12 wins from 21 career starts, was trained at Crupi’s New Castle Farm in Florida.
“We also have to acknowledge Jimmy Crupi,” said Vaccarezza. “They did an unbelievable job with him, breaking him and training him, and he deserves a lot of credit.”
Little Mike/Benoit photo