HorseracingFLA Staff Report
Gentlmens Agrement beat Rizwan by a length in Sunday’s seventh and feature race at Gulfstream Park, while the heavily favored Little Mike finished fifth in his first race after a two-year layoff.
Little Mike, a winner of four Grade 1 turf stakes, set the early pace in Sunday’s 1 1/16 mile turf allowance optional claiming race.
The nine-year-old gelding led Rizwan by a length after a half mile in 47.52 seconds.
But Gentlmens Agrement took the lead heading into the final turn. Little Mike faded and finished fifth in the six-horse field, five lengths behind Gentlmens Agrement.
First Race Back
It was the first race for Little Mike (photo on home page) since May 17, 2014 when he won the Flying Pidgeon Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Gulfstream.
“I think the 26 months caught up with him,” said Carlo Vaccarezza, the trainer and owner of Little Mike. “He ran good but got tired. We’ll see how he comes out of the race and see what he can do next time.”
Little Mike was sidelined for two years by tendonitis and an issue with a suspensory ligament that didn’t require surgery.
Vaccarezza had Little Mike examined by several veterinarians, who pronounced the horse fit prior to his return to training this year.
Priscilla Vaccarezza, Carlo’s wife, owns Little Mike. The horse is part of Vaccarezza’s year-round stable at Gulfstream’s affiliate Palm Meadows training facility in Boynton Beach.
In 2011, Little Mike won three Grade 3 turf stakes at Gulfstream–Fort Lauderdale, Canadian Turf and Appleton.
Since then, he has won four Grade 1 Turf stakes. In 2012, those victories were in the Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs, the Arlington Million at Arlington Park and the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita.
In 2013, Little Mike won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park.
In Sunday’s race. Little Mike was the even-money favorite and Gentlmens Agrement was second betting choice at 5-2.
It had a $44,000 purse and an optional claiming price of $62,500. Of the starters only Daddy’s Kid, who finished fourth, and Oklahoma Den, who finished last, were in for the tag. Neither was claimed.
Gentlmens Agrement, a 4-year-old gelding, won in the solid time of 1:41.13 on the course listed as firm. It was his third win in five career starts.
Luca Panici rode Gentlmens Agrement for trainer Leo Gabriel Jr.
–Photo from Gulfstream Park, by Leslie Martin