Sent off at 12-1 in a wide-open field of 11, Little Mike broke sharply from the outside and never looked back, going wire-to-wire to win a thrilling edition of the $100,000 Ft. Lauderdale (gr. IIIT) Jan. 9 on the Gulfstream Park turf.
Making his graded-stakes debut under Joe Bravo, Little Mike had to hold off a late charge from 11-1 Blues Street, who came from off the pace with Kent Desormeaux aboard and pulled even with the leader in deep stretch. But Little Mike got the photo by a nose in a head-bobbing finish to win for the fifth time in 10 lifetime starts.
Smart Bid was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third under Edgar Prado. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf was 1:40.52.
Little Mike, a 4-year-old son of Spanish Steps trained by Allen Iwinski, was able to hold on despite setting legitimate fractions. The bay gelding was sent through splits of :23.08, :46.79, and 1:10.35 before opening up a 3 1/2-length lead at the top of the stretch. Bim Bam, Get Stormy, and Smart Bid were the closest to the pacesetter until turning for home.