HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — A Little Warm rallied from fifth place at the midway point to win the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes for 3-year-olds by 1½ lengths in the mud at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
A Little Warm ran three times as a 2-year-old before his first victory, a 103/4-length win at Philadelphia Park in his season finale.
Saturday's victory came on the opening day of the Gulfstream Winter Meet in the year's first relevant stakes race for 3-year-olds that could be pointed toward the Kentucky Derby.
That jewel is still a few months away, and A Little Warm will have to prove he can handle going two turns. The Spectacular Bid was 6 furlongs.
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Trainer Anthony Dutrow is eyeing the 7-furlong, Grade II Hutcheson Stakes next month at Gulfstream as a possible next step for A Little Warm.
"I was very concerned about the conditions," Dutrow said. "Until they run on it (sloppy) you just don't know, but he handled it fine and was very professional. He always showed ability, but it took a couple of races before he put it all together, and then he really came around when he broke his maiden by 10 in his last start.
"I see no reason why he won't go on (more distance)."
Dutrow also had third-place finisher Westover Wildcat. Wildcat Frankie was second.
A Little Warm jockey Jeremy Rose felt his colt was perfectly placed and has no doubts he can handle the added distance of future Derby preps.
"He sat there, took the trip perfect, and I felt like I had the winning horse from the half-mile pole in," Rose said. "I got him outside of everybody, and never had to touch him with the stick. A horse like this, one that rates, will go as far as you need him to go."
The disappointment of the day was 9-5 favorite Discreetly Mine, who finished fourth after a rough trip. He closed out his 2-year-old season with runner-up finishes in the Grade I Champagne and Grade II Futurity but was making his first start Saturday for trainer Todd Pletcher.
John Velazquez was also riding Discreetly Mine for the first time.
"I got bumped against the rail and didn't have to check; I was already there," Velazquez said. "And that was it. He got intimidated from there. They got away from him, and he just couldn't catch up again."
■ Richiegirlgonewild won The Old Hat, a Grade 3 race for 3-year-old fillies.
Custom for Carlos wins
Custom For Carlos drew even in the turn before surging ahead to win the Grade III, 6-furlong Mr. Prospector Stakes by three-quarters of a length Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Past the Point finished second and Presto Change O third on a sloppy track. The winning time was 1:10.07.
"He broke well and had a nice and easy trip," winning jockey Julien Leparoux said. "He was always relaxed and we got a good path on the outside. ... We couldn't have asked for better."