03/01/2012 12:58PM

Gulfstream Park: Little Mike tries to make it five straight in Canadian Turf

Barbara D. Livingston
Little Mike has won four straight, including the Florida Sunshine Millions Turf (above).

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Putting together a long winning streak at the highest levels of competition is a notable accomplishment in its own right. Doing so over an extended period of time in the gritty manner that Little Mike has won four straight races and six of his last seven starts over the past 14 months is all the more remarkable.

Little Mike will attempt to extend his streak as well as successfully defend his title when he goes postward the heavy favorite in Saturday’s $150,000 Canadian Turf. His task will not be an easy one as the Grade 3 one-mile turf race also lured the Grade 1-placed pair of Doubles Partner and Beau Choix, Group 1 winner Mutual Trust, and the up-and-coming Data Link. Trend, Seruni and Perfect Footprint complete the lineup.

Little Mike began his four-race win skein with a 1 1/2-length victory in the 2011 Canadian. He came right back to capture the Grade 3 Appleton here five weeks later before going to the sidelines due to a cracked shin. He returned from an 8 1/2-half month layoff to post a game nose decision over Yankee Fourtune under allowance conditions early in the meet before holding on bravely to register a three-quarter-length triumph in the Florida Sunshine Millions Turf on Jan. 28.

“He’s just a special horse the way he keeps going out and winning the way he does,” said Dale Romans, who trains Little Mike for owner Priscilla Vaccarezza. “He’s got a combination of speed and stamina and never seems to have a bad day. As hard as he had to work to win his last two starts, it doesn’t appear to have taken anything out of him. He’s trained super since the Sunshine Millions and looks like he’s on his way and ready to go Saturday.”

Little Mike has posted his last five victories racing on the lead and Romans doesn’t see any reason to change that strategy in the Canadian.

“He’s so fast it’s hard for anybody to outrun him early and I don’t think anybody really wants to come out and hook him, either,” said Romans. “There is some quality competition in this field, but he’ll be a deserving heavy favorite and it’s his race to lose.”

Mutual Trust, a Group 1 winner going a mile last summer in France, finished sixth but was beaten less than two lengths when making his U.S. debut in the Grade 3 Ft. Lauderdale on Jan. 14, and figures to benefit from having a race under his belt.

Doubles Partner has not started since finishing third, a length behind winner Get Stormy, in Churchill Downs’s Grade 1 Turf Classic on May 7. Doubles Partner, who is trained by Todd Pletcher for WinStar Farm, put the punctuation mark on a series of works with five-eighths in 59.60 seconds over the Palm Meadows turf course last weekend.

Beau Choix will make his 2012 debut for trainer Barclay Tagg in the Canadian. Beau Choix has not started since finishing a tiring fifth over soft ground in an overnight stakes at Belmont on Sept. 23.

Data Link is perfect in three starts over the Gulfstream turf course, a streak that dates back 13 months and includes an easy 2 3/4-length allowance win here on Dec. 4.

Canadian Turf S. (G3), Post Time: 5:17 ET Saturday

Purse: $150,000; 1 mile (T)





ML Odds


Doubles Partner

T. Pletcher

J. Leparoux



Mutual Trust (GB)

W. Mott

J. Castanon



Beau Choix

B. Tagg

J. Rocco, Jr.



Data Link

C. McGaughey, III

A. Solis




M. Frostad

P. Lopez




P. Oliver

J. Court



Perfect Footprint

D. Figueroa

M. Pinto



Little Mike

D. Romans

J. Bravo