Saturday, November 3, 2012
Little Mike comes up huge
By Claire Novak
Arlington Million winner Little Mike upset the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf and finished a tick off a 23-year-old course record to do so, holding off the late-flying Point of Entry by a half length while getting the 1 1/2 miles in 2:22.83 at Santa Anita Park Nov. 3.
Record time for the distance at the Southern California oval is 2:22.80, set by 3-year-old Hawkster in 1989.
A 17-1 shot off a fifth-place finish in the Sept. 29 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational won by Point of Entry, Little Mike raced up close in third along the rail behind a pace set by the flying Turbo Compressor. The United Nations winner went winging along through a quarter in :23.83, a half in :46.77, and three-quarters in 1:10.80 with Optimizer just off his outside flank.
After a mile in 1:35.28 Turbo Compressor began to tire, and jockey Ramon Dominguez shifted his 5-year-old Spanish Steps gelding just to the frontrunner's outside entering the turn. Little Mike responded easily, taking the lead into the stretch and holding it against Point of Entry's late turn of foot.
Little Mike paid $36.60, $12.20, and $7.80 while Point of Entry brought $4.20 and $3. Defending Turf victor St Nicholas Abbey returned $3.80 three-quarters back to complete the tri.
Bred in Florida by Carlo Vaccarezza and owned by Pricilla Vaccarezza, Little Mike is out of the Wavering Monarch mare Hay Jude. The victory improved his career record to 12-2-1 from 21 starts for trainer Dale Romans.