Nominations to the Sunshine Millions, an eight-race series that will be televised nationally Jan. 28, have closed with a total of 333 names submitted.
The Sunshine Millions matches horses bred in California and in Florida, with the races – worth a total of $3.6 million – run on a rotating basis at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, sister tracks in the Magna Entertainment Corp. family.
This year, the $1 million Classic, the $500,000 Filly/Mare Turf, the $300,000 Filly/Mare Sprint, and the $250,000 Dash will be run at Santa Anita. The renovated Gulfstream Park will host the $500,000 Distaff, the $500,000 Turf, the $300,000 Sprint, and the $250,000 Oaks.
NBC will televise the Sunshine Millions.
Among the Classic prospects is Florida-bred Buzzards Bay, winner of the 2005 Golden Gate Derby (gr. III) and the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), and a good fifth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
The California-bred Lava Man is another Classic nominee. He was seventh in the 2005 Classic, which was contested at Gulfstream, but he's much better in California. He won the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) and the Californian (gr. II) and ran a strong third in the Pacific Classic (gr. I).
Gulfstream's Turf looms a competitive event. Buzzards Bay, who has never raced on grass, is also named to this race, as is Proud Man, the Florida-bred winner of this race when it was run at Gulfstream two years ago. Proud Man ran the 1 1/8 miles on the old Gulfstream course in track-record time of 1:45.69. The old-timer will be 8 when the race is run in 2006.
Also on the list are the stakes winners Silver Tree and Wire Bound.
Valentine Dancer has carried the ball for the California breds the last two years, scoring points for the left coasters with victories in the last two Filly/Mare Turfs. She heads the list named to this year's renewal. Also prominent is the crack Florida-bred Aclassysassylassy.
Other past Sunshine Millions winners on the list of nominees are Valid Video, winner of the inaugural Dash in 2003 at Gulfstream who is named to the Sprint, and Sweet Lips, who won last year's Distaff at Santa Anita.