Cindy's Horse Racing Website Index

Sunshine Millions Results

Frank Stronach chairman of Magna Entertainment.
Date: 01/25/2003

At Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park on Saturday, Frank Stronach's Magna Entertainment Corporation ran the inaugural Sunshine Millions races. Restricted to horses bred in California and Florida, the two states' breeding industries are given a chance to settle bragging rights on the track. The concept can also be seen as a revamping of the abortive "Super Track" team racing series that was run two years ago, which pitted Florida owners and jockeys against their California counterparts. Early indications show that Sunshine Millions may be here to stay, with full fields, close finishes, increased handle, and race sponsorship to fund the $3.6 million in purses, factors that were lacking in 2001 for Super Track, although they did keep the cheerleaders.

The finish of the Sunshine Millions Classic
The main event of the day was the Ocala Breeders Sales Classic at Gulfstream, with older horses going 1 1/8 miles for a $1 million purse. Eight-year-old Florida bred Best of the Rest rallied down the stretch to win by 1/2 a length over Booklet in 1:49.44 as the 7-2 favorite. Winning trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said, "He just doesn't stop. He's had four knee injuries and if he hadn't had the injuries then he wouldn't be racing today. He would be standing at stud. He's still not 100 percent but he's sounder now than he's been in a long time and that's why he's racing so consistently. He ran his eyeballs out today and he had to because Booklet also ran an excellent race." Chart

Smok'n Frolic winner of the Sunshine Millions Distaff
At Santa Anita, the older female division was represented in the Vessels Stallion Farm Sunshine Millions Distaff, at 1 1/16 miles for $750,000. Dogwood Stable's 9-5 favorite Smok'n Frolic did not disappoint her backers, coming from 5th down the backstretch to draw off by 2 1/2 lengths over Cee's Elegance at the wire, in 1:43.40. Chart

Adminniestrator winner of the Sunshine Millions Turf
The California contingent almost got shut out on Millions day, but they did get a win, in the Barretts CTBA Sunshine Millions Turf, over 1 1/8 miles of Santa Anita's turf course. Six-year-old grey Adminniestrator, an 9-1 longshot, came from out of the clouds to get up by a nose in 1:46.48 over 8-1 shot Music's Storm, with favored Forbidden Apple, making his final start before retirement, a length back in third. Trainer Patrick Gallagher said, "I don't know if I'm surprised, but it's a big race, and I'm happy. He got further back than he wanted and got caught wide, but it worked out good. He ran hard." Chart

The finish of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf
Back at Gulfstream, the turf distaffers competed in the Franks Farm Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf, also at 1 1/8 miles. The 7-2 second choice Stay Forever rallied from 10th after a bumpy start to win by 1 1/4 lengths over 2-1 favorite Cellars Shiraz. Winning jockey Jose Santos said, "I've never ridden this mare before, but [trainer Martin] Wolfson told me he was saving her for me. I've ridden a lot of nice horses over the years, but today she proved she was the best Florida-bred grass filly or mare there is right now." Chart

The finish of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint
Unlike the Breeders' Cup, the Sunshine Millions gives the female sprinters their own race, the Padua Stables Filly and Mare Sprint over 6 furlongs at Gulfstream. 6-5 favorite Madame Pietra rallied under jockey Pat Valenzuela to win by a neck in 1:10.22 over 10-1 longshot Shameful. Winning trainer Howard Zucker said, "Score one for Florida. I feel like I've just won the Breeders' Cup. You've really got to give it up for this mare, she's so gutsy. The fillies on the lead were really game, but she came down the lane with her teeth bared and ears pricked back." Chart

Atlantic Ocean winner of the Sunshine Millions Oaks
At Santa Anita, the three-year-old fillies got a head start in their classic aspirations in the John Deere Oaks, at 7 furlongs. The Thoroughbred Corporation and Bob Baffert won with 3-1 second choice Atlantic Ocean, who rallied from 8th early to defeat 7-5 favorite Ivanavinalot by 1 1/2 lengths under David Flores for her third straight win. Baffert said, "When she was young she was so big and awkward, like a big puppy, and hadn't fully grown into herself, so it was harder to find what kind of races were best for her. But she's really come around and turned into a special filly. She's such a big-striding filly and longer distances are probably best for her, but this was a good spot so we tried it." Chart

The finish of the Sunshine Millions Dash
The three-year-old colts competed in the 7 furlong Ocala Stud Dash. 5-2 second choice Valid Video caught the pacesetting 9-10 favorite Excessivepleasure in deep stretch to win by 1/2 a length in 1:22.38. Winning trainer Dennis Manning said, I was a little worried about the seven furlongs because that's a tough distance to win coming off a layoff. He's bred to be a sprinter, but I think he'll get two turns eventually. Now is not the time to try, though." Chart

Captain Squire winner of the Sunshine Millions Sprint
Finally, the sprinters had their say in the FedEx Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita over 6 furlongs. 7-2 second choice Captain Squire got the lead early and held it to the end, going away by 5 1/2 lengths in 1:08.15 over 14-1 shot Men's Exclusive. Trainer Jeff Mullins is hoping for an invitation to either the Godolphin Mile or Dubai Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup undercard. Chart

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