On a main track once again favoring speed, the pacesetting Bob Black Jack was ridden to victory by David Flores, who recorded his seventh Sunshine Millions win. The winning time, 1:06.53, broke the Cushion Track mark for six furlongs set by In Summation Jan. 21.
The Sunshine Millions Dash is for 3-year-olds bred in California and Florida. Bob Black Jack gave California its only victory in the eight-race series. Morning line favorite Georgie Boy was scratched.
"I was never nervous at all," Flores said after being tackled by Winsome Charm and Tyler Baze in the homestretch. "Maybe about getting tired. I was doing all the work, but (Bob Black Jack) was just cruising. (Winsome Charm) was pushing, but he made it look easy."
Bob Black Jack set super-fast fractions -- :20 4/5 for the opening quarter and :42 2/5 for the half-mile -- while maintaining the advantage over Winsome Charm. Leaving the turn, Winsome Charm, racing on the outside of the favorite, put in his challenge and appeared to have moved ahead at the three-sixteenths pole. But Bob Black Jack fought back along the inside and was in control leaving the furlong marker.
James Kasparoff, the 33-year-old winning trainer, said he was worried when Winsome Charm made his bid.
"That horse looked like he was going better than us . . . but my horse showed another gear," he said. "He’s just a very, very nice horse. He re-broke when David really asked him to run. We’re looking to possibly stretching this horse out in his next race. There’s really not too much for him now going short.”
Winsome Charm was a clear second by two lengths, with the closing Afleet Ruler getting up for third for Joe Talamo, who was named Eclipse Apprentice Jockey of 2007 at the Jan. 21 Los Angeles awards ceremony. All eight starters carried 120 pounds.
A California-bred colt by Stormy Jack--Molly's Prospector, by Native Prospector, Bob Black Jack proved his front-running 6 1/4-length win over state breds in the California Breeders' Championship at Santa Anita on Dec. 26 was no fluke. He won that seven-furlong test in a fast 1:20 1/5.
Gary and Marlene Howard and Bruce Dunmore bred the winner, who sold for $4,500 at Barretts January 2006 sale.
“We’re still exploring with him because he is just developing so much," Flores said. "We just don’t know how far he can go. His distance capability is a question right now because he’s only been sprinting, but he is a horse that can rate. He just pricks his ears. As long as they don’t push, he doesn’t go.
"(Winsome Charm) never did get in front of him today. I was always a neck in front of him. But he likes to battle. He was just doing enough. I had to hit him a couple of times, and then he pulled away. That was very exciting, the way he did it.”
Bob Black Jack earned his third win in five lifetime starts for owners Jeff Harmon and Tim Kasparoff, the trainer's brother. The winner's share, $137,500, more than doubled the dark bay's earnings to $268,925.
He paid $3.60, $2.80, and $2.20. Winsome Charm, making his stakes debut for trainer Jeff Mullins, returned $3.80 and $2.80. Afleet Ruler, coming off a maiden win for John Sadler, was $3.40 to show.
Nevada Worrier ran fourth, followed by Dee Dee's Legacy, Little Nick, Italian Rules, and Johns Grooms. Topper Shopper also scratched.