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Little Mike All Set for United Nations

Little Mike, a winner of multiple Grade 1 stakes events including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Classic, is set for Saturday’s Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth. He and a field of top stakes company will travel a mile and three eights on the turf in the hopes of capturing the winner’s share of the $500,000 purse.

Little Mike is coming off of a trip to Dubai where he ran in two Group 1 events at Meydan Racecourse, the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 where he finished 8th on March 9 and the Dubai Duty Free on March 30 where he crossed the wire in 11th place, spraining his ankle in the process. Trainer Dale Romans believes that Little Mike is now fully recovered and ready for the United Nations.

“We just had to let him freshen up and get back on his feet after Dubai,” said Romans. “He feels ready to go now. He trained good for the last month or so. He’s doing everything right.”  

A 6-year-old gelding by Spanish Steps from the Wavering Monarch dam Hey Jude, Little Mike is a perfect two-for-two on the turf at Monmouth Park, where he broke his maiden and bested the field in an allowance event in 2009. In those two races Little Mike made $69,700 of his $3,074,412 in lifetime earnings for owner Priscilla Vaccarezza.

“His success at Monmouth definitely had something to do with it,” said Romans of Little Mike’s return to Monmouth Park.

Little Mike, who is currently stabled at Monmouth Park in the barn of trainer Eddie Plesa, will have jockey Joel Rosario aboard as he breaks from post position seven in the 62nd renewal of the United Nations Stakes. The U.N. will go as race 11 on Saturday’s 12-race card.

 

 RAGING DAOUST TRIES FOR FIRST STAKES WIN IN SALVATOR MILE

 

Raging Daoust will try for his first stakes victory in Saturday’s Grade 3 $150,000 Salvator Mile. Conditioned by Buddy Carlesimo, Raging Daoust is coming off of a win at Monmouth in his last race where he edged out his opponent by a nose in a six furlong optional claiming event.

“He sure seems to like Monmouth,” said Carlesimo of Raging Daoust, who is an impressive five for six in Oceanport, and has racked up $111,300 of his $183,203 in lifetime earnings in those six races here.

A 4-year-old gelding by Kafwain out of Champagne Forever, Raging Daoust has worked twice since his win at Monmouth on June 8. He breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 on June 23 where he was the best of 11 that day, and he most recently breezed four furlongs in :49 1/5 on June 29.   

“He’s doing great,” Carlesimo said. “A mile should be a good distance for him. It’s his third race off the layoff so he should improve. We’ve been pointing toward this race for a while.”      

A James Costabile Jr. and Ronald Juliano color-bearer, Raging Daoust will be up against tough competition on Saturday as he competes against the likes of Bowman’s Beast and Lucy’s Bob Boy, both of which have never finished worse than second in their five and 16 race careers, respectively. 

Jockey Victor Santiago gets the mount on Raging Daoust in the Salvator Mile, which goes as race 10 on Saturday’s 12-race card.

 

SLEEPLESS KNIGHT LOOKS TO CONTINUE STELLAR YEAR IN ELKWOOD

 

Sleepless Knight will try for his second career stakes win in Friday’s $75,000 Elkwood Stakes for 3-year-olds and up. Trained by Kelly Breen, Sleepless Knight looks to continue his success at Monmouth, as he has finished in the money in four of his seven starts in Oceanport, including his only stakes win in the 2009 Lamplighter Stakes. He is coming off of a victory in his last race at Delaware, where he bested the field by a length and a quarter on June 6.

“He looks to be in really great form now,” said Breen. “He’s having a really good year. He’s training well, working well, and thankfully the rain stopped so it should give him a pretty good chance at a stakes win.”

Sleepless Knight, who races under the colors of George and Lori Hall, has worked once since his last race, breezing four furlongs in :48 4/5, good enough for sixth best of 47 at that distance on June 22. He is set to travel a mile Friday against a field of tough turf competitors, but Breen says that he is not the one contemplating strategy.

“I’ll let Paco (jockey Lopez) worry about the pace,” Breen said. “He won on him last time out so he knows him.”

The Elkwood will go as race 9 on a 10-race card on Friday.

 

FANS LOOK FORWARD TO T-SHIRT GIVEAWAY AS HOLIDAY WEEKEND CONTINUES

 

Independence Day weekend continues at Monmouth Park on Friday. Five stakes events highlight the next three days, including the Grade 1 $500,000 United Nations Stakes on Saturday, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race. On the same day fans will receive a free Monmouth Park t-shirt with the price of admission to the park.

The racetrack will also continue the jockey autograph and memorabilia sale, which will carry on until the end of the weekend. Fans can also look forward to Family Fun Day on Sunday with free pony rides, face painting, bounce houses, and live music by Cats On A Smooth Surface who will perform “On the Green”. In addition, Monmouth will host a $200 Monmouth/Woodbine Handicapping Contest on Sunday, in which the top two finishers will earn an all expense-paid trip to Las Vegas as well as a seat at the National Handicapping Championship.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m. with post time at 12:50 p.m. for each day of the holiday weekend.

 


 

 

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