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Hollywood Park: Little Mike gives California a try in Shoemaker Mile
INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Good luck trying to keep pace with Little Mike in Saturday’s $300,000 Shoemaker Mile at Betfair Hollywood Park, trainer Dale Romans said.
“I don’t think anyone will get in front of him,” Romans said. “If they do, they won’t finish well. He’s fast.”
Owned by Priscilla Vaccarezza, Little Mike has won 10 of 17 starts and $830,412.
The Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile will be Little Mike’s first start in California. A 5-year-old gelding, Little Mike has won five stakes in Florida and Kentucky, most recently the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in a 12-1 upset on the Kentucky Derby program at Churchill Downs on May 5.
The Shoemaker Mile is a pivotal race for Little Mike, and may not be his only California start this year. The race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge program, offering a fees-paid berth to the winner for the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. That race is a long-term goal for Romans with Little Mike.
Romans began training Little Mike in early 2011 after the horse was transferred from trainer Allen Iwinski. For Romans, Little Mike has won 5 of 7 starts and overcome a condylar fracture of a cannon bone that left him sidelined for more than eight months last year.
“He came to me in good shape,” Romans said. “He grew up and became a better racehorse. The time off probably did him some good.”
Romans won the 2009 Shoemaker Mile with Thorn Song.
In Saturday’s race, Little Mike must hold off a threat from Mr. Commons, who has won two stakes and finished second in two stakes since Christmas; and Jeranimo, who won the Grade 2 Citation Handicap here last fall.
The race is expected to include the four-time Argentine Grade 1 winner Suggestive Boy, who has yet to start in the United States. Widely considered Argentina’s top horse of 2011, Suggestive Boy joined trainer Ron McAnally’s stable last winter and has worked steadily in recent weeks.
Grass races rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Inside post & one of the most underrated turf jocks, makes this a cakewalk ...Dubai You X Y Z & Mr Commons round off the tri key ...
I love this move by Romans to get Little Mike out west, and get used to the harder turf courses of Cali. Not sure if he'll win, I like Jeranimo to run late. This horse has the tools to be a BC winner.
Little Mike will have the lead in the Shoemaker, no doubt. The key for him and the rest of the field will be how close Liberian Freighter is able to be to this lead. Liberian Frieghter is a quality speed horse, a 3-time graded stakes winner, and he can run sub-1:10 fractions for 6 furlongs. However, when Liberian Freighter met a horse similar in speed to Little Mike, Sidney's Candy, in last year's American Cap' at the same mile distance at Hollywood, Liberian Freighter stalked before tiring badly. Significant, though, is that Freighter's presence took just enough out of Sidney's Candy that Ryehill Dreamer was able to tag him at the wire. Because Freighter is in the field, Little Mike's not going to be able to walk the dog like he did in the Woodford Reserve. He's going to have to set a very legit pace in the Shoemaker, and then deal with solid stalkers in Hudson Landing and Dubai You X Y Z and then quality graded stakes closers in Jeranimo and Mr. Commons. But Little Mike is the horse to beat. Good for Romans and the owners recognizing a mile turf division out in California that, with Mr. Commons looking rather common his last two races, is there for the taking.
I have seen Little Mike in person, he is a beast!
It's sad, but I'll have to hope that LM gets thumped so I don't have to suffer through looking at his connections perform for TV "face-time" after the race. That display they put on after the Woodford Reserve on Derby day was nothing less than very bad Gong Show material.
I love this horse!! i root for little mike because he is a real trooper horse, super fast and will be hard to gun down Saturday.
Do not count Romans or Little Mike out... And note how Romans is putting the Year together for all of his Horses.
- 1.Posted 12/08/2013 09:52AM
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