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Current Odds: 6-1 B. g. 5, by Spanish Steps - Hay Jude, by Wavering Monarch
Race HistoryDownload Past Performances
June 30, 2012 - Bhp
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May 5, 2012 - CD
Woodford Reserve Turf Classic
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Dale Romans grew up on the Churchill Downs backstretch learning his trade from longtime trainer and father Jerry Romans. The Louisville, Ky native just missed winning the 2010 Kentucky Derby when Paddy O' Prado finished a game third. In 2011 he won his first Classic race when Shackleford captured the Preakness. He saddled Court Vision to an upset win in the Breeders' Cup Turf Mile in 2011 and captured the Breeders' Futurity with Dullahan.
Dominguez was the 2010 & 2011 Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey. In 2011, his mounts earned an incredible $19,364,256, and in 2001 and 2003 he lead the nation in number of victories. Dominguez has two Breeders' Cup wins to his credit including the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile aboard Hansen. He recently was chosen as the recipient for the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award for his career achievements and personal character.
Little Mike is by far the best runner by Spanish Steps, an unraced full brother to multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Unbridled's Song. His other stakes winners are Lydia's Last Step, successful in a pair of minor races at Lone Star and Zia Park; Conway Two Step, victorious in the 2011 Brave Raj at Calder; and the Puerto Rican-based duo of El Suri and Spanish Ridge. Unbridled's Song, of course, is a noted sire with such representatives as champion Midshipman, Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic stars Unrivaled Belle and Unbridled Elaine, and multiple Grade 1 winners Octave, Thorn Song, Splendid Blended and Zensational.
Little Mike is out of Hay Jude, the winner of five races who concluded her career in the low-level claiming ranks. She has also produced multiple stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Little Nick. Since Little Mike is unproven at the Million's 1 1/4-mile distance, it's worth noting that his dam Hay Jude and half-brother Little Nick are sprinters. The next-closest stakes-winning family member, Linear, was also a speed merchant. On the other hand, Little Mike has already exceeded their distance capacity, as well as their class.
Little Mike could be drawing more from the rich gene pool of Hay Jude's sire, multiple Grade 1 hero Wavering Monarch. Aside from siring champion Maria's Mon (himself the sire of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver), Wavering Monarch factors as the broodmare sire of 1993 Preakness-winning champion Prairie Bayou, Canadian classic victor Stephanotis and millionaire Tejano Run, runner-up in the 1995 Kentucky Derby.
Hay Jude was herself produced by a daughter of the redoubtable Relaunch. Further back in the female line appears Gold Pleasure, a Brazilian Group 1 winner with stamina.
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Front runner was last seen when second in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood in late June when unable to secure an easy lead but has won five of his eight starts since joining the barn of Dale Romans using his front running tactics. Gelding’s biggest victory came in the Grade One Turf Classic at Churchill Downs this spring when allowed to set relatively easy fractions on the front end and, with little other true speed entered here, that may be a scenario that could unfold here. Romans has won with three of his five starters at this meet and wins with 17% of his runners in stakes races and son of Spanish Steps will be the one to catch with Ramon Dominguez picking up the mount.