12/18/2015 3:56PM

Little Mike will return to training

Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photos
Little Mike has not raced since winning the Flying Pidgeon in May 2014 at Gulfstream.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Little Mike, who has not started since winning the Flying Pidgeon Stakes here in May 2014, will launch one more comeback, owner and trainer Carlo Vaccarezza said this week.

Little Mike has been sidelined by various issues since the Flying Pidgeon, including a suspensory problem that appeared to have ended his career a year ago. Little Mike, a homebred son of Spanish Steps, has earned more than $3.5 million for Vaccarezza and his wife, Priscilla, his most notable victory coming in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf for trainer Dale Romans. Vaccarezza has had the horse under his care since parting ways with Romans and taking out his own trainer’s license nearly two years ago.

“We did an ultrasound exam of his suspensory on Wednesday, and he passed 100 percent; there is not any indication of any damage of any kind right now,” said Vaccarezza. “I’ve taken my time with him, and over time, he’s healed up perfect. Now we have to keep our fingers crossed the horse can stand the training regimen. If you see him, he looks so fit, like he just ran two weeks ago. His coat is shiny, he’s very playful, and when he walks the shed row, he’s full of himself. I’m going to take it easy with him, jog him at least 30 days before he starts to gallop. He’ll tell me when he’s ready. He’ll have to go with the pony at first because he’s so aggressive and so strong, I don’t think there’s a rider around who can handle him right now.”

Vaccarezza said if there’s any indication that Little Mike is not standing up to training, he’ll be retired and sent to Old Friends in Georgetown, Ky.

“I would never do anything to hurt him,” said Vaccarezza. “I already have an agreement with Michael [Blowen] that when he’s ready to retire, he’ll go to Old Friends.”

Little Mike, a gelding who will turn 9 on New Year’s Day, is scheduled to return to the track for the first time Monday at Palm Meadows.