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The Gulfstream Park division of the 2006 Sunshine Millions took on added importance as it marked the end of jockey Jerry Bailey's career. An on-track crowd of 8,440 came out to the sunny Hallandale Beach oval to see some of the best California and Florida breds do battle as well as to bid farewell to one of racing's all-time greatest riders.
The highlight event at Gulfstream was the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf. A full field of twelve older horses faced the starter in this 1 1/8 mile trip around the turf course. Jerry Bailey, riding in his final career race, was aboard the 9-10 favorite Silver Tree. 8-1 second choice Captain Squire battled on the front end with 86-1 longshot Touched by Madness through a half in 46.10 and 3/4 in 1:09.61 over the firm going. Bailey kept the favorite back in eighth saving ground on the rail. Rounding the far turn, 49-1 longshot Miesque's Approval, who was at the back of the back the whole way, came out wide, closed strongly through the lane, and grabbed the lead with a furlong to go. Jerry Bailey and Silver Tree waited for room on the turn, slipped through on the rail and rallied on the inside but was left with too much to do. Miesque's Approval and jockey Eddie Castro held off the sentimental favorite by 3/4 length in a time of 1:44.81. It was 3 lengths back to 13-1 shot Icy Atlantic in third. 9-2 second choice Willow O Wisp failed to fire, finishing last.
Miesque's Approval in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Marty Wolfson said, "Believe it or not, I loved this horse today. He got very sick last November and I had to take him to the hospital, but since I've got him back, he's been training great for the last month. So I really expected him to run well today." Winning jockey Eddie Castro said, "This horse has been working great at Calder for the last month. Martyís done a great job with him, and he gave me great instructions today. He told me to sit seven or eight lengths off the pace early, and thatís what I did. It worked out great."
Retiring jockey Jerry Bailey returns aboard second place finisher Silver Tree. He said, "You can only hope to get a good spot and wait for a hole to open up. I guess today it came a bit too late. I guess you could say I went out with a bang, because the horse kicked me in the hip in the paddock. If I weren't in so much pain (from the kick) going into the gate, I probably would have broken down (cried). The crowd has been beautiful. I just hope more of them bet to place than to win." Trainer Bill Mott added, "Well, it wasn't exactly the fairy tale ending was it? But it was close."
House of Fortune in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Ron McAnally said, "She's had little problems here and there in her races. She has no withers, so her saddle has slipped sometimes. In another start, the (assistant) starter grabbed her right ear. Last year at Oaklawn in the Apple Blossom we told (Eibar) Coa to let her go on and he didn't. So it's been little things here and there. But today we tried to get it all together, and she did."
Winning jockey Pat Valenzuela said, "I am finding out more and more about her each time I ride this filly and the way she races. She didn't break the best today and I had to take her back, but she relaxed. On the (far) turn I saw an opening and I took it. She went right in there and took off right away."
Joint Effort in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Mark Guidry said, "She broke great and that got her in good position early. Basically, she just turned it up a little when I got her in the clear, and that was all she needed. As always, (trainer) Dale Romans did a good job getting her ready, so when I rode her, I had all the confidence in the world."
Bordonaro in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Spawr said, "He has been so upset since we got here. I'm so surprised that he ran this well. He started out in a stall that was facing the racetrack, and all the excitement just had him so unsettled. He was way off his grain, but obviously not all the way off it. He just never seemed to settle down. To have him run this well is a very nice surprise. We will probably give him about six to eight weeks before looking around for another race. Anything is possible."
The new Gulfstream Park grandstand at night
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