Little Mike came with a strong rally in the final quarter mile to give the WinStar Farm training graduate a half-length victory in the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Little Mike raced up close in third along the rail behind a pace set by Turbo Compressor, who flew through a half-mile in :46.77. After a mile in 1:35.28 Turbo Compressor began to tire, and jockey Ramon Dominguez shifted Little Mike just to the frontrunner's outside entering the turn. He took the lead into the stretch and held of Point of Entry's late run to finish the 1 1/2 miles in 2:22.83, just .03 off the track record set by Hawkster in 1990.
Bred in Florida by Carlo Vaccarezza and owned by Pricilla Vaccarezza, Little Mike is out of the Wavering Monarch mare Hay Jude. The victory improved his career record to 12-2-1 from 21 starts for trainer Dale Romans.
Little Mike is a leading contender for turf championship honors, with victories in the Arlington Million (G1) and the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs earlier this year.