HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Little Dreams Racing’s Little Alexis will make her 4-year-old debut and first start since last November’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) in Saturday’s $60,000 Orange Blossom Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The daughter of Mr. Greeley didn’t have the smoothest of returns to the racetrack after shipping west for racing’s Championship Weekend at Santa Anita Park. Following her start in the Breeders’ Cup, the filly came down with a fever that caused her to miss the Fasig-Tipton November sale, where she was scheduled to be sold.
“She’s doing great,” trainer Carlo Vaccarezza said. “There was a little setback during the Breeders’ Cup, when she got a bad shot and the left side of her neck just blew up. She went up to a 104 fever, and that’s when we had to scratch her from the Fasig-Tipton November sale. It took a while for us to get a health certificate to fly her back to South Florida, and she came back, and we gave her some time off. Then we put her back in training and breezed her. She breezed what was probably the bullet of the day. She went 0:45 and change or 0:46, and her neck blew up again. So, we gave her some more time off and put her back into training again, and now she’s doing good. I hope she’s going to be like the Alexis that she was.”
The Little Alexis that was started her career in eye-opening fashion at Gulfstream, breaking her maiden at first asking while defeating the highly-regarded My Miss Sophia, who would go on to win the Gazelle (G2) and finish second in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). After being sidelined by a stone bruise, the filly returned to win the $90,000 Cash Run Stakes off a five-month layoff last July. From there, the Kentucky-bred hit the road, logging a third-place finish in the Test (G1) at Saratoga in August and a checking in fourth in the $1 million Cotillion (G1) at Parx behind Eclipse Champion 3-year-old Filly Untapable in September, her last start prior to the Breeders’ Cup.
Jockey Edgar Prado will be reunited with Little Alexis in the Orange Blossom. The veteran journeyman has not raced the filly since her Cash Run victory but has been aboard for her recent breezes.
“We’ll leave it up to Edgar,” Vaccarezza said. “He rode her here before, and he won with her here, and he breezed her a couple of weeks ago.”
Ultimately, Vaccarezza would like to give Little Alexis another shot at the Breeders’ Cup, but for now he is content to focus on one race at a time.
“In this case, we have to see how she comes back from this race,” he said. “The ultimate goal would be to get her ready to go back to the Breeders’ Cup, and then put her back in the sale again after the Breeders’ Cup. That’s the ultimate goal, but we’re so far off from that. But she’s doing really well, and I hope she performs the way that I think she’s going to do it.”
Little Alexis will face six other runners in the Orange Blossom, including R Free Roll, winner of last summer’s Honorable Miss (G2) at Saratoga. The speedy mare most recently returned from a three-month layoff to finish second, beaten a ½-length, in the Minaret Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 21.
Joann’s Wildcat was also entered in the Orange Blossom. The Larry Pilotti trainee is on a three-race win streak at Gulfstream, having most recently captured an allowance over the main track by 5 ¼ lengths.
Quiet Hour, winner of an allowance at Gulfstream on Feb. 26, and Puddifoot, third in the Minaret, are also among the entrants. The field is rounded out by Flutterby and Light Bringer.