By Inside Florida Horse Racing Staff
Saturday, May 17 - Little Mike, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade1) winner, will make his first start of 2014 today at Gulfstream Park.
The 7-year-old gelding is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the $75,000 Flying Pidgeon Stakes, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-olds and up.
Following the heavy rain on Friday morning, Gulfstream moved the day’s four scheduled turf races to dirt. The turf course was drying out by late afternoon, and no rain is in the Saturday forecast.
“I expect the race will stay on the turf,” Carlo Vaccarezza, the trainer and breeder of Little Mike, said on Friday evening. “He is looking great, and he likes this course.”
Vaccarezza added that he would scratch Little Mike if the race comes off the turf. Little Mike has won five of seven starts on Gulfstream's turf.
Little Mike is one of 14 entrants, including four that are Main Track Only. The Flying Pidgeon is the ninth race with post time of 5:33 p.m.
Little Mike will be ridden by Elvis Trujillo and can be expected to seek the early lead. Grand Tito and Padilla should be among top challengers.
Priscilla Vaccarezza, Carlo’s wife, owns Little Mike. They are using Saturday’s race as a prep for Little Mike for the $1 million Manhattan (Grade 1) on June 7 at Belmont Park. That race will be 1-1/4 miles on turf as one of that track’s ten stakes (yes, count ’em) on Belmont Stakes day.