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Jan 20, 2004

Little Mike comes up big in Arlington Million XXX


Arlington Heights, IL (Sports Network) - Little Mike, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, took the lead out of the gate and led the entire way to capture Saturday's Arlington Million XXX at Arlington Park.

The 1 1/4 mile Million is part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" program. The win puts Little Mike into the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita on November 3.

Trained by Dale Romans, Little Mike and Dominguez shot straight to the front coming out of the gate. The five-year-old gelding set a slow pace while racing along the inside. Running in second was Willcox Inn with Colombian racing in third and Cherokee Lord fourth in the 11 horse field.

Owned by Priscilla Vaccarezza, Little Mike never allowed any of his rivals to get close as he led the field into the stretch. At the wire he was 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Afsare with Rahystrada and Colombian finishing in a dead heat for third.

Rounding out the order of finish were Crackerjack King, Treasure Beach, Wigmore Hall, Willcox Inn, Boisterous, Cherokee Lord and Vertiformer.

The time for the 30th Arlington Million on a 'good' turf course was 2:02.44.

"It's unbelievable, it's a great race, one of the greatest races in America," exclaimed Romans after winning his first Arlington Million. For Dominguez it's his second Million victory having won aboard Gio Ponti in 2009.

Little Mike picks up $600,000 with the victory. The five-year-old has won 11 times in 19 career starts for $1,466,412. The Million was the horse's first ever try at 1 1/4 miles.

He began the year by winning the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Park before fading to fourth in Gulfstream's Canadian Turf. Little Mike came back on the Kentucky Derby card at Churchill Downs to win the Turf Classic and most recently was third in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park.

Last year Little Mike notched victories in the Fort Lauderdale, Canadian Turf and Appleton Handicap, all at Gulfstream Park.

Little Mike returned $9.80, $5.60 and $4.40. Afsare paid $6.60 and $4.80. Rahystrada and Colombian paid $4.40 and $3.80, respectively, for show.

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