Little Mike looks for his third graded stakes win of the current Gulfstream Park in the Appleton Stakes.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Little Mike looks for his third graded stakes win of the current Gulfstream Park in the Appleton Stakes.
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Little Mike Seeks Third Gulfstream Stakes Win

Speedy gelding is 123-pound top weight against eight foes in grassy Appleton Stakes.

Front-running Little Mike looks for his third graded stakes win of the current Gulfstream Park season when he faces eight rivals in the $100,000 Emirates Airlines Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT) April 3.

Little Mike, trained by Dale Romans for Priscilla Vaccarezza, is the 123-pound high weight in the one-mile Appleton. Joe Bravo, who rode the 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding by Spanish Steps to victories in the Fort Lauderdale (gr. III) and Canadian Turf (gr. IIIT) stakes at the meet, is back aboard. They will break from the rail.

Among Little Mike's challengers are J. Mack Robinson's Cherokee Artist, a lifetime winner of $623,910, multiple graded stakes-placed Asphalt, and Nicanor, one of Barbaro's younger full brothers.

The Appleton, race 8 at about 4:33 p.m. (EDT), is part of a program that includes the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) and $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II), both for 3-year-olds, and the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (gr. III) for older horses on the main track.

In his most recent race, the one-mile Canadian Turf Feb. 27, Little Mike led from the start at a quick pace and held sway in the lane for a 1 1/2-length win over Society's Chairman . The latter won last year's Appleton but was not entered this time although nominated.

Little Mike captured the 1 1/16-mile Fort Lauderdale in similar fashion but was all out to win by a nose. His career mark stands at six wins in 12 starts with earnings of $305,970.

Cherokee Artist, winner of the 2009 Presque Isle Mile, has placed twice in allowance conditions at the Gulfstream stand for trainer Graham Motion. The homebred 6-year-old son of Cherokee Run missed by 1 1/2 lengths to Appleton rival Successful Mission in a one-mile heat March 13. Ramon Dominguez retains the mount and they will break from post 2.

Live Oak Plantation's Successful Mission shook loose by four lengths in the stretch in a front-running effort March 13 to defeat Cherokee Artist for trainer Edward Plesa Jr. The 5-year-old Successful Appeal  gelding won three in a row last year and is searching for his first graded stakes tally. Elvis Trujillo keeps the mount.

Nicanor, scratched from the Tampa Bay Stakes (gr. IIIT) March 19, is also after his first graded stakes win for trainer Michael Matz. The 5-year-old Lael Stables' homebred by Dynaformer ran fifth in the Canadian Turf in his most recent try. Julian Leparoux is aboard.

Matz also entered Mikoshi, coming off an optional claiming allowance victory by a head going 1 1/16 miles on the Gulfstream grass Feb. 26 for owner Matsumoto Ltd. It was the 5-year-old Orientate horse's first start in 2011. Jose Lezcano has the call again.

Asphalt, from the Eddie Kenneally barn, was fourth in that race but was beaten by only a neck while gaining at the end. The 4-year-old War Chant colt was second in the American Turf (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs last April and finished third in both the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) and Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) later in 2010. Joseph Riccelli owns Asphalt, who is ridden by Javier Castellano.

Trainer Todd Pletcher is represented by 6-year-old Commandeered, a 4 1/4-length optional claiming winner on the Gulfstream turf Feb. 9 for Zayat Stables.

Brazilian-bred Jardim is entered for the main track only.

$100,000 Emirates Airline Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:33 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Little Mike (FL), J Bravo, 123, D L Romans
2. Cherokee Artist (KY), R A Dominguez, 117, H G Motion
3. Nicanor (KY), J R Leparoux, 119, M R Matz
4. Sayif (IRE), H Berrios, 117, P L Biancone
5. Commandeered (KY), J R Velazquez, 117, T A Pletcher
6. Riviera Cocktail (KY), G K Gomez, 119, K P McLaughlin
7. Successful Mission (KY), E Trujillo, 119, E Plesa, Jr.
8. Asphalt (FL), J Castellano, 119, E Kenneally
9. Mikoshi (KY), J Lezcano, 119, M R Matz
Main Track Only
10. Jardim (BRZ), P Lopez, 117, E Caramori