Musique Toujours, with Jorge Chavez in the irons, shocked a quality field in Saturday's $1 million headline race on Sunshine Millions day, going gate-to-wire at odds of 70-1 to win the Ocala Breeders' Sales Classic at Gulfstream Park.
The stunner capped a day of longshots at Florida's Gulfstream and California's Santa Anita Park.
The 5-year-old California-bred Musique d'Enfer gelding prevailed by a neck over fellow outsider Zakocity, a 27-1 shot. However, the victory was not enough to overcome the Florida-breds in the eight-race Sunshine Millions series. The Sunshine Staters won the series for the third straight year by a 44-28 score.
Musique Toujours, trained by John Sadler, hadn't won since a $50,000 claiming race last May at Hollywood Park. Bred by Jacquie Takaha and Lorenzo Preciado and owned by Lloyd DeBruycker and Richard Glassman, Musique Toujours paid $142.20. It was the first stakes victory for the bay, a winner of five of 19 career starts. His victory in the Classic, and the $550,000 winner's share, more than tripled his career earnings to $726,320.
Glassman, a former sales manager for a car dealership, said he's been out of work for a year. He and his partner claimed Musique Toujours for $40,000 on Nov. 21 2003.
"This is a dream. I've been out of work for a while and I'm trying to become a Los Angeles police officer," Glassman said. "It was my idea to claim this horse.
"I got Lloyd DeBruycker to put up two-thirds of the money to get in this race. We've been planning this for two months. I probably shouldn't say this, but the trainer didn't think we had a chance."
Sadler admitted as much. "When we were talking about a million-dollar race, realistically, we were talking about just getting on the board," he said. "To win is a great thing."
Third place went to Classic Endeavor, whose five-race winning streak was snapped. Limehouse finished fourth. Favored Midas Eyes, at odds of 2-1, stalked the leaders to the eighth pole before falling back and finishing ninth with Edgar Prado aboard.
The winner ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.17.
Musique Toujours, staked to the lead by Chavez over Zakocity shortly after the break, showed the way through fractions of :23, :46 2/5, 1:10 3/5 and 1:35 4/5. Instead of giving way in the stretch as Classic Endeavor, Limehouse, and Midas Eyes moved into contention, the two leaders shouldered on. Zakocity, ridden by Eibar Coa, trailed by two lengths at the eighth pole but made a game effort to come up just short.
Chavez, who recently won the 4,000th race of his career but has been struggling since a fall in the 2003 Florida Derby (gr. I), said he didn't intend to get the lead.
"It was easy and comfortable, so I just let him go," he said. "He just kept on trying. I was trying to save what I could for the end and then I saw the other horse coming on the outside and I just started yelling, 'Please, please just give me a little more.' This is such a big win for me."
Classic Endeavor was 1 1/2 lengths behind in third, a half-length better than Limehouse.
Second of June, Lava Man, El Don, Midas Eyes, Stockholder, Royal Place, and Cozy Guy followed.
The winner paid $54.80 to place and $24 to show while topping a $1,700.80 exacta with Zakocity ($23.60, $11.20). Classic Endeavor's show was $7.40 and that $1 trifecta was worth $6,857.50.