The Sunshine Millions, one of the first major racing events of the year, is held jointly at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. and Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Each track runs four races that pit the best California-breds and Florida-breds against each other.
Ironically, the event coincides with Southern California’s wet season and is often an overcast day. There is a chance the seventh annual Millions will not contain sunshine. Weather.com predicts a 10 percent chance of precipitation and partly cloudy afternoon skies. Gulfstream’s outlook is a bit rosier.
A storyline involving Fairplex Park and Barretts Equine Ltd. is that of All Saint (pictured left), who runs in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream. The gray or roan colt was bought by owner Eddie Gamez of Pomona for only $2,700 at the 2007 Barretts October mixed sale. He has now earned $122,400, easily paying for his purchase price and upkeep. He is coming off a victory in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes, which was his trainer Triphon Dahl’s first stakes win. All Saint regularly trains on the dirt surface at Fairplex Park. For more of All Saint’s story, click here.
Todd Pletcher-trainee Icy Atlantic (pictured right) has run third and second in the Sunshine Millions Turf and is taking another stab at it. He was best known as champion English Channel’s “rabbit” before successfully branching out on his own. He is an 8-year-old un-gelded horse, an extreme rarity, especially for a stakes-level runner.
The Sunshine Millions Sprint boasts two grade I winners - In Summation and Georgie Boy. Georgie Boy comes into the race off of a third-place finish in the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes (Gr. I), and In Summation returns from a fourth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Gr. I).
California-breds are poorly represented in the Florida races, with only seven horses total in four races. Trainer Barry Abrams has the lone Cal-bred in the Filly and Mare Turf, Bel Air Sizzle, and one of two Cal-breds in the Classic, Medzendeekron. Doug O’Neill-trainee and grade I winner Mistical Plan is one of two Cal-breds entered in the Filly and Mare Sprint. She won the 2007 Sunshine Millions Oaks.
The California-breds are once again the underdogs. There are less foals born each year in California than in Florida and less Cal-breds entered in the Sunshine Millions. It is also common for Florida-breds to be based in California, but not vice versa. Several Florida-breds who have always been based in California have good chances of winning their respective races, including Backbackbackgone in the Dash, Wild Promises in the Filly and Mare Turf, Dearest Trickski in the Filly and Mare Sprint, and Emmy Darling in the Oaks.
Dash (pre-entries) (Gulfstream - 1:07 p.m.*)
Dash (nominations PP’s)
Filly & Mare Turf (Gulfstream - 1:36 p.m.)
Filly & Mare Sprint (Gulfstream - 2:05 p.m.)
Turf (Santa Anita - 2:23 p.m.)
Classic (Gulfstream - 2:45 p.m.)
Oaks (Santa Anita - 2:54 p.m.)
Sprint (Santa Anita - 3:26 p.m.)
Distaff (Santa Anita - 3:57 p.m.)
*All times Pacific Standard Time