12/06/2012 4:42PM

Gulfstream Park notes: Little Mike, Dullahan pointed to Dubai stakes

Tom Keyser
BC Turf winner Little Mike is being pointed to the Sheema Classic on the Dubai World Cup undercard.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – It’s been more than seven years since trainer Dale Romans made his first journey to Dubai, an adventure that ended with Roses in May’s victory in the 2005 World Cup. Now, Romans is planning a return trip to the Middle East, this time with two potential major players on Dubai World Cup Day – Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Little Mike and three-time Grade 1 winner Dullahan.

Romans confirmed his intentions to take both Little Mike and Dullahan to Dubai while en route from Arizona to Louisville on Thursday. Romans was in Arizona to accept the Big Sport of Turfdom Award earlier this week from the Turf Publicists of America.

“It’s still early, but right now we’re pointing Little Mike to the Sheema Classic and Dullahan to the World Cup. Those are our long-term goals for both horses this spring,” Romans said. “Both are doing well, and the money is there, so we really have to take a shot and look in that direction.”

Little Mike is currently stabled at Gulfstream Park, while Dullahan remains on the farm in Ocala and is scheduled to ship to Gulfstream around the first of the year, Romans said.

“At the moment, I have nothing definite mapped out for either of them,” Romans said. “They could both get a prep race at Gulfstream or they might have their final preps over there.”

Romans said he believes having experience running a horse in the World Cup is a big edge.

“It is really easier going back to Dubai the second time,” Romans said. “It helps a lot having been there and knowing what to do and what it takes to win.”

Graydar sizzles in allowance win

Graydar, who made a huge first impression when winning his debut by 8 1/2 lengths and earning a 100 Beyer Speed Figure here last spring, returned to south Florida and made an even bigger impression Thursday. Graydar, with jockey Edgar Prado aboard, rallied to a 4 1/4-length victory over Tiz Yankee in the featured fourth race while completing a mile in 1:33.72, just .01 of a second off the course record set by Commentator in January 2008.

Graydar, a 3-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song, is trained by Todd Pletcher for Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC.

Stewards have busy day

The stewards were busy Thursday, disqualifying three horses on the card, including both the first- and second-place finishers in the opener, Lord Chelsie and No Act, giving chalkplayers a gift by elevating the 2-5 favorite For All Who Conga to first. The judges also reversed the original order of finish in the sixth event, putting Red Hot Randy’s number up after he lost a nose bob to Acclaim who drifted out slightly under left-hand pressure from jockey Luis Saez nearing the wire.

Sean Avery gets back to work

Sean Avery, winner of the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga during summer 2011, breezed an easy three furlongs in 37.20 seconds here Thursday, his first work since shipping to south Florida last month. Sean Avery returned from nearly a one-year hiatus to win an overnight stakes at Belmont in early September, but then disappointed in two subsequent starts, finishing a tiring fifth in the Grade 1 Vosburgh and eighth in Laurel’s De Francis Memorial.

“He just really wasn’t right for either of his last two races,” trainer Allen Iwinski explained. “We took some blood work on him after the Vosburgh, and it looked like he had some sort of virus. We addressed that issue and did all we could to have him ready for the De Francis, and although he came into the race acting great, I guess he still wasn’t really over it.”

Iwinski said he gave Sean Avery a bit of a break after the De Francis and will point him to the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector here Dec. 29.

Iwinski also reported that his six-time stakes-winning turf sprint specialist Inspired has been retired and is scheduled to be bred to Medaglia d’Oro during the spring. Inspired won five of nine starts, all stakes, in 2012 while earning more than $300,000 this season for owner-breeder Peter Blum.

“She came up with a little problem after her last race,” Iwinski said. “We probably wouldn’t have been able to bring her back until the spring and being she’s going to turn six and has accomplished so much already, we felt it was a better idea to continue her career as a broodmare rather than trying to get her back to the races again.”

Handy back in winner’s circle at 89

Trainer George Handy, who turned 89 in July and has raced horses at Gulfstream for more than 50 years, returned to the local winner’s circle Thursday after winning the afternoon’s second race with Secret Memory. Owned by Handy’s principal client, Barbara Ann McDonnell, Secret Memory overcame trouble in late stretch to post her second victory in as many starts under apprentice Hugo Sanchez in the bottom-level conditioned claiming dash for fillies and mares.

◗ Sunday’s $100,000 South Beach Stakes drew a full field of 12, plus a couple of also-eligibles, to go 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Romacaca tops a lineup that also includes Whipsaw City, Safe Crossing, Hooh Why, and Much Rejoicing.