01/28/2012 6:40PM

Gulfstream: Little Mike leads all the way in Sunshine Millions Turf

Barbara D. Livingston
Little Mike, with Joe Bravo up, wins the Sunshine Millions Turf.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Little Mike once again demonstrated his affinity for the Gulfstream Park turf course while showing he can indeed get nine furlongs as he went gate to wire to win Saturday's $150,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Turf by three-quarters of length.

The win was the ninth from 15 career starts for Little Mike and second straight since returning from a condylar fracture that forced him to miss eight months last year.

Little Mike, a 5-year-old son of Spanish Steps, is now 5 for 6 over Gulfstream Park's turf course. His only loss in the last 15 months came in last year's Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, his only previous try at 1 1/8 miles.

Saturday, under Joe Bravo, Little Mike got loose on the lead through fractions of 23.60 seconds, 48.01, 1:11.71, and 1:34.51 and covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.94 over a firm turf course. He returned $5.80 as the 9-5 favorite.

In the final furlong, Little Mike turned back the threat of Slews Answer, who finished second by 1 1/2 lengths over Bad Debt.

"He knows horses are there, and he just doesn't like to get beat," Bravo said. "It's pretty amazing how the horse has so much class. He loves to win - he ain't going to let anybody get by him."
Earlier in the day, trainer Dale Romans said he hoped Little Mike would return to the form he showed last year and possibly take him and owners Priscilla and Carlo Vaccarezza to the Breeders' Cup Mile, a race Romans won last fall with Court Vision.

"I think it was a pretty spectacular race," Romans said. "He comes home fast, it shows he can go a mile and an eighth. I think he ran a big race. He's going to be a big addition to the stable. If he can hold up and go on and have a big year I think he's a Grade 1 horse."