09/26/2012 4:59PM

Belmont: Little Mike gets stamina test in Joe Hirsch

Four-Footed Fotos
Arlington Million winner Little Mike will try to prove he can handle 1 1/2 miles in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.

ELMONT, N.Y. – If the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile were run this weekend, Little Mike would be one of the favorites.

Saturday, Little Mike will try to see where he would fit in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf when he tries 1 1/2 miles for the first time in the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park.

[SUPER SATURDAY: PPs and race previews for Belmont Park]

Little Mike earned a spot in the BC Turf by virtue of his victory in the Arlington Million, run at 1 1/4 miles. Now, Little Mike must prove to his connections he belongs in the race by proving he can get the distance.

“The way he got the mile and a quarter and if the pace scenario is right then I think he can,” trainer Dale Romans said when asked about the 1 1/2 miles. “After the Arlington Million, he had to get the outrider to pull him up. He acts like he’ll just keep on going.”

Little Mike was just one of six horses entered in the Joe Hirsch and it looks like he could be the primary speed again under Ramon Dominguez.

Romans also entered the 3-year-old Finnegans Wake, a closer who finished second in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington in August.

The Joe Hirsch field includes Point of Entry, winner of the Man o’ War and Sword Dancer, Treasure Beach, Hailstone, and Kindergarden Kid.

Flower Bowl: I’m a Dreamer back in U.S.

I’m a Dreamer, who shipped from Ireland to Chicago to win the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington in August, has returned to the U.S. for Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational, a 1 1/4-mile turf race which drew a solid field of nine.

I’m a Dreamer returned to Ireland following her Beverly D. score, and her connections feel she has traveled just as well to New York as she did to Chicago.

“She went home straight after Arlington. She had a little break, has done routine work. Everything’s good to go,” said Ian Russell, who accompanied I’m a Dreamer to New York for trainer David Simcock. “We’re pretty happy. Hopefully, on Saturday we might have another success story. She’s in good order. She’s fit. She’s well. She’s happy.”

Hayley Turner, who rode I’m a Dreamer to victory in the Beverly D, will be back aboard her on Saturday.

Last fall, in the E.P. Taylor at Woodbine, I’m a Dreamer finished second, a nose in front of Dream Peace, who is in this field and makes her first start for trainer Chad Brown.

Dream Peace comes off a second-place finish to Winter Memories in the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga. She will break from the rail under Julien Leparoux.

Brown also has Zagora, the Ballston Spa winner, in this field. Others entered include Hessonite, Hit It Rich, Starformer, Bizzy Caroline, Nahrain, and Halo Dolly.

Beldame: It’s Tricky vs. Royal Delta again

Royal Delta and It’s Tricky are the two protagonists in the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame Invitational, a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

Royal Delta and It’s Tricky were second and third, respectively, behind Love and Pride in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Invitational at Saratoga. It’s Tricky stumbled badly at the break and ran a courageous race to even be third.

She returns to Belmont, where she has won two Grade 1 races. She is also undefeated in one-turn races and though run at 1 1/8 miles, the Beldame is run around one turn.

“She seems to do very well one turn here on this racetrack,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “I think all systems are go. We’ve been pointing for this spot. We feel like we’re in a good spot because it’s again equal weights.”

Royal Delta, who was second to Havre de Grace in last year’s Beldame before winning the Ladies’ Classic, will break from post 3 under Mike Smith. It’s Tricky will break from post 6 under Eddie Castro.

Others entered included Go Unbridled, Maristar, Cash for Clunkers, Disposablepleasure, and Acting Happy.

Vosburgh: Sean Avery tops 10-horse field

Sean Avery takes the second step on his comeback from a year layoff when he heads a 10-horse field entered in Saturday’s $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational, a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Sean Avery missed last year’s Vosburgh due to a bowed tendon. He came back off a 13-month layoff to win an overnight stakes here on Sept. 8.

“He came out of the race in excellent condition. He’s training into this race as good as I could hope for,” trainer Allen Iwinski said. “We’re not working him in between these two races because he’s the kind of horse who does well fresh and I think working him would crank him up too much for this race .”

Sean Avery drew post 4 in a 10-horse field and will be coupled in the wagering with The Lumber Guy, who returns to the races for the first time in four months. Barry Schwartz owns an interest in both horses.

The Vosburgh field includes Caixa Eletronica and Justin Phillip, the one-two finishers from the Grade 2 True North here on Belmont Stakes Day, as well as Poseidon’s Warrior, upset winner of the Grade 1 Alfred Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga.

Little Drama, Zero Rate Policy, Fort Loudon, Rothko, and Royal Currier complete the field.

Kelso: Shackleford back at Belmont

Shackleford, who won the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap here in May, hopes the return to Belmont Park sparks a return to form when he runs in the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso.

Following the Met Mile, in which he defeated To Honor and Serve, Shackleford finished last in the Vanderbilt run over a sloppy Saratoga track and then scratched out of the Forego with a cough.

Dale Romans, who trains 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford, said he feels like the horse is back to his old self.

“He had a rough summer catching the mud not running very well, then had a small issue with a foot, not a big deal, and then coughing the day of the race,” Romans said. “He had a rough August. But it seems like everything’s behind him.”

Shackleford will break from post 5 under Ramon Dominguez in the nine-horse field. He will be one slot outside of To Honor and Serve, who comes off a victory in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. entered four horses in the Kelso, a Win and You’re In for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, but said Wednesday he did not know how many he would run.

That quartet includes Trickmeister, Pacific Ocean, Isn’t He Perfect, and Gallant Fields. Others entered include Tapizar, Golddigger’s Boy, and Jersey Town.

◗ Junior Alvarado, who sustained a fractured collarbone early in the meet, has been getting on horses in the morning and is expected to return to race-riding next Wednesday, his agent Mike Sellitto, said.