By Jim Freer
Fans who come to Gulfstream Park on Sunday afternoon and those who watch via simulcast will be treated to the return of turf star Little Mike, who has not raced in more than two years due largely to medical issues.
The nine-year-old gelding, whose list of wins includes the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade 1), is among seven horses entered in the seventh race with a scheduled post of 4:26 p.m.
It is 1 1/16 miles on turf with a $44,000 purse, and a $62,500 optional claiming price. Naturally, breeder and trainer Carlo Vaccarezza does not have Little Mike in for the tag.
Little Mike’s race is the feature on an 11-race card with first post at 1:15 p.m.
There is a carryover of $4,666 on the Super Hi-5 in the first race. The carryover has grown to $53,523.12 on the Rainbow 6. It is on races six to eleven.
Little Mike has not raced since May 17, 2014 when he won the Flying Pidgeon Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Gulfstream.
“He had tendonitis and an issue with the suspensory, but nothing happened that required surgery,” Vaccarezza said.
Vaccarezza noted that a group of veterinarians have examined and treated Little Mike, finding nothing that gelding who is now nine years old, has not raced since May 17, 2014 when he won the Flying Pidgeon Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Gulfstream.
“He had tendonitis and an issue with the suspensory, but nothing happened that required surgery,” said Carlo Vaccarezza, Little Mike’s breeder and trainer.
Vaccarezza noted that a group of veterinarians have examined and treated Little Mike, finding nothing that mandated retirement. Dr. Larry Bramlage of the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., was among that group.
“I wanted to be 100-percent positive that it’s fine to bring him back,” said Vaccarezza, whose wife Priscilla owns Little Mike.
Should Little Mike win or otherwise run a strong race on Sunday, Vaccarezza will consider the Arlington Million (Grade 1) as a possible next race for Little Mike.
That race will be Aug, 13 at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill. Little Mike won the Arlington Million in 2012.
There is a carryover on the Super HI-5 because in Saturday’s 12th and final race there were no tickets with the first five finishers in correct order. There are no consolation payoffs, such as four of five places, in the Super Hi-5.
Thus the entire pool goes into Sunday. It is $1 minimum bet with an 18 percent takeout and is offered on all races with seven or more starters.
Sunday’s first race is a $30,000 claimer at one mile on turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
Overnight carryovers usually attract the biggest bets on the Super Hi-5 because of the extra time available for handicapping.
For example, this past Thursday there was a carryover of $5,237.30 going into the first race. Bettors wagered $31,804 on the Super Hi-5 in that race.
The Rainbow 6 is a 20-cent-only per combinaton bet.
Saturday was the seventh straight day without the jackpot-payoff requirement of just one ticket with the winners of all six Rainbow 6 races.
There were 40 tickets with all six winners, and each received $818.46.
The carryover coming into Saturday was $39,478. Bettors wagered an additional $58,531 on the Rainbow 6.
Per its formula on days with multiple winning tickets, Gulfstream took out 20 percent of the day’s bet. It divided 56 percent of the bet among the seven winners and added 24 percent, $13,845, to the carryover.