Little Mike wins the Flying Pidgeon Stakes at Gulfstream Park in his most recent start, May of 2014.
Little Mike, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf and Arlington Million winner, is ready to make his first start after more than two years on the sidelines.
Carlo Vaccarezza, who trains the 9-year-old Spanish Steps gelding owned by his wife, Priscilla, said he is entering Little Mike in a conditioned allowance/optional claiming race on the turf at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
If all goes well, Vaccarezza said, he hopes to run Little Mike in the Arlington Million at Arlington Park on Aug. 13.
“I’m very happy and humbled for the support of P.J. Campo and Tim Ritvo (Gulfstream Park executives) that they are allowing me to run the horse on Saturday,” Vaccarezza said. “ I hope he runs well. He’s nine, hasn’t run in 26 months. We’ll see. If he runs well, we’ll continue. If he doesn’t he’ll be telling me it’s time to send him to Old Friends.
Florida-bred Little Mike hasn’t run since winning the Flying Pidgeon Stakes at Gulfstream Park May 17, 2014. His prior start before then was a ninth-place finish in the Hong Kong Cup in December 2013, when Little Mike was trained by Dale Romans.
“Since May of 2014, the horse went to WinStar Farm, then to Dr. Bramlage at Rood & Riddle, then to Ocala Stud,” said Vaccarezza. “He’s been in the best places you can think of, the equine version of the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic. He’s been pampered. We put him in a hyperbaric chamber and an equine saltwater spa. At Ocala Stud with Mike O’Farrell, he would swim every day for a couple of months. I finally got him back in December 2015.”
Vaccarezza said the time was needed to treat tendonitis. “There was no tear and no need for surgery,” he said.
Little Mike has had eight recorded workouts since April, including a series of mile breezes.
“If you saw him, you’d think he’s a 3-year-old,” said Vaccarezza. “His coat is incredible and he looks very happy. I know he’s not going to be running against the best competition and there’s a big difference between breezing and running in a race, but he’s ready for Saturday.
Elivis Trujillo, who rode Little Mike is his last start, will be aboard.
Little Mike has won 14 of 29 starts and earned $ 3,543,012.
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