Little Mike and Twilight Meteor each wired their respective fields at big odds last out, but neither figures to be favored for the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) Feb. 5 when a well-balanced group of eight lines up.
Little Mike overcame the 11 post when taking the 1 1/16-mile Ft. Lauderdale (gr. IIIT) Jan. 9 at Gulfstream, but will likely be an outsider again against Battle of Hastings, who finished a troubled sixth as the beaten favorite. Smart Bid, who was third in that race, also returns for another try.
Twilight Meteor’s narrow Topical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) victory at Calder Dec. 4 was his second consecutive graded stakes triumph, but he doesn’t figure to get the lead against the speedy Little Mike this time around.
Little Mike, now in the barn of Dale Romans, held off a charging Blues Street by a nose in the Ft. Lauderdale in his graded stakes debut. It was the fifth win in the last six starts for the 4-year-old Spanish Steps gelding, who has improved dramatically since switching to turf last summer. A Florida homebred of Carlo Vaccarezza, Little Mike won at 12-1 odds, setting brisk fractions before desperately hitting the wire first under Joe Bravo.