Trainer Michael Trombetta was sore but joking, a little, on Jan. 25 after his 4-year-old gelding Sweetnorthernsaint, the favorite for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park, kicked him in the chest two days earlier.
“I had him out grazing and he just got to feeling good,” said Trombetta, who indicated he was not badly hurt by his prize charge’s exuberance. Trombetta added, “Maybe he didn't like the way I was training him. Maybe it was the post position. Maybe that's why he was mad.”
No doubt that Joseph Balsamo and Ted Theos' Sweetnorthernsaint will have to work hard to overcome the outside post 12 in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile event, an historically poor starting position for the distance at Gulfstream. Sweetnorthernsaint is the 9-5 morning line favorite. Ramon Dominguez has the mount.
“We know we're at a disadvantage,” said Trombetta. “But it's one of those things that’s out of my control, so I'm not going to worry about it. It's like the weather. I'll talk to Ramon. My horse usually likes to be forwardly placed and Ramon will have a moment or two to find a spot. I have a lot of confidence in him and I think we're going to do well.”
Sweetnorthernsaint finished third in the one-mile Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) on Jan. 6 in his first start of the year. He was seventh behind Barbaro as the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) last spring and finished second to 3-year-old Eclipse Award champion Bernardini in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
NBC-TV will broadcast the Sunshine Millions, an eight-race series at Gulfstream and Santa Anita restricted to Florida and California-breds, from 4 to 6 p.m. (ET).