Bobby Frankel, who did not participate in last year's inaugural $3.6 million Sunshine Millions, plans to have four startes in the 2004 series, which pits Florida and California breds in a series of eight stakes races at Gulfstream and Santa Anita parks.Frankel is favored to win his fourth consecutive Eclipse Award and a record fifth for a trainer for his 2003 accomplishments.He plans to have a strong presence in the second Sunshine Millions on Jan. 24. Slated to run are Peace Rules in the $1 million Barretts/CTBA Classic at Santa Anita; Ice Wynnd Fire in the $250,000 NATC Dash at Santa Anita; Midas Eyes in the $300,000 Padua Stables Sprint at Gulfstream; and defending champion Madame Pietra in the $300,000 Nextel Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. Each was bred in Florida. Madame Pietra was conditioned by Howard Zucker when she won last year.On Saturday, Frankel won his first stakes race of 2004 when Megahertz captured the San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita. The 62-year-old Brooklyn native seeks his fifth Eclipse Award as the nation's top trainer. Last year he won a North American record 25 grade I races and his horses earned more than $19.1 million. Frankel joined fellow Hall of Famers Charlie Whittingham (204), Ron McAnally (105) and D. Wayne Lukas (103) as the only trainers to reach the 100-win plateau at Santa Anita when Megahertz won the San Gorgonio Handicap Saturday. Frankel was one shy of career win No. 3,000. He is looking forward to participating in the Sunshine Millions and winning another Eclipse Award."If you've got Florida or Cal breds it's good. If you don't, it's not so good, to be honest with you," Frankel said about the unique event which will have pre-entries taken on Wednesday. "I mean I'd be upset if I didn't and they were running for all that money and I had no chance to win any of it. But since I've got some horses to run, I'm happy for it."
Frankel talked about the prospect of earning the Eclipse. Winners will be announced on Jan. 26 in Florida. "I'd really like to win it this year only because nobody's won five and who knows, this might be my last chance to win one," he said. "You don't know what kind of year you're going to have next year or the year after, you know?"