Undefeated 4-year-old filly Awesome Feather, champion female sprinter Musical Romance, and popular 4-year-old Mucho Macho Man are among the stars expected to run in one of six Florida Sunshine Millions Stakes Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
Nominations have been released for the six races for Florida-breds that will be worth a total of $1.3 million. The $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic will climax the card. Mucho Macho Man makes his 2012 debut in a field that may also include Adios Charlie, Duke of Mischief, and Turbo Compressor.
Trained by Kathy Ritvo, Mucho Macho Man finished third in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) before tailing off to finish sixth in the Preakness (gr. I) and seventh in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in early June. Given a freshening, the son of Macho Uno came back strong on Nov. 9 at Aqueduct to win a one-mile allowance race by 5 3/4 lengths.
Awesome Feather will likely be a short-priced favorite in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff for trainer Chad Brown as she bids to keep her career record perfect at nine-for-nine.The daughter of Awesome of Course won all six of her starts as a 2-year-old in 2010, sealing an Eclipse Award campaign by winning the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Churchill Downs for breeder Jacks or Better Farm and trainer Stanley Gold.
Purchased by Stronach Stable days after the Breeders’ Cup for $2.3 million, Awesome Feather’s career was put on hold for most of the 2011 season by a tendon problem. She came around in the fall to win the Le Slew overnight stakes at Belmont in early October and Gazelle Stakes (gr. I) at Aqueduct Nov. 26 by 5 1/4 lengths.
Musical Romance sealed her Eclipse Award when winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) on Nov. 4 in the 14th start of a long campaign. The daughter of Concorde's Tune could be a solid favorite in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at six furlongs, but will face a sharp rival in Pica Slew.
Leading the probable cast for the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at 1 1/8 miles on grass will be 5-year-old gelding Little Mike, a winner of three graded stakes over the Gulfstream course last year for trainer Dale Romans. The son of Spanish Steps recently returned to competition with a game allowance victory over the course on Dec. 22 in his first start since early April when he won the Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Donald Dizney’s 5-year-old Apriority shipped to California to finish second by a head to Amazombie early last year in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita. He will go into this renewal of the $150,000 dash as a heavy favorite after posting a game victory in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III) for trainer David Fawkes over the track and distance on Dec. 31.