The $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic may lack numbers, but it doesn’t lack talent and the potential to be an excellent betting race Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
Seven were entered in the 1 1/8-mile event, one of six Florida-bred stakes on the Saturday afternoon program, and a case can be made for most of them. Though restricted to state-bred runners, the Classic attracted horses that have performed well in graded stakes.
Adios Charlie , owned by Robert Sahn and trainer Stanley Hough, will make his 4-year-old debut in the Classic after a strong 3-year-old season in which he won the grade II Jerome Stakes and finished second in the Peter Pan Stakes and Dwyer Stakes (both gr. II). The Indian Charlie colt, sidelined in June, returned Dec. 16 at Gulfstream and easily defeated older foes in a one-mile allowance race around one turn.
Adios Charlie has been training forwardly at Palm Meadows Training Center since that effort and appears poised to do damage given his ability to rate off the leader and carry his speed. In the Peter Pan at Belmont Park he finished a head short of Alternation at 1 1/8 miles. The Classic will mark his first start around two turns.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing Stable’s Mucho Macho Man, a good third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), also makes his 4-year-old debut in the Classic. The Macho Uno colt, also on the sidelines for the summer of 2011, returned Nov. 9 at Aqueduct and coasted to win an allowance/optional claiming test versus older foes.
Since then Mucho Macho Man has posted quick works for trainer Kathy Ritvo at Gulfstream, where he finished fourth in last year’s grade III Holy Bull Stakes.
Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek, who ended 2011 on a high note with strong victories in two Aqueduct stakes at 1 1/8 miles and 1 3/16 miles, respectively, makes his 2012 debut for trainer Bill Mott. The Full Mandate horse rarely fails to threaten no matter the company and enters the Classic off a couple of modest works at Payson Park Training Center.
Duke of Mischief , winner of the $1 million Charles Town Classic in April 2011 for owners Alex and Joan Lieblong, Marilyn McMaster, and trainer David Fawkes, has two wins in six starts at Gulfstream and last year finished second to Tackleberry in the Sunshine Millions Classic, which was open to horses bred in Florida and California. The 6-year-old Graeme Hall horse is yet another that would be no surprise.
The Florida Sunshine Millions Classic is the last of the six stakes and the 10th race on a program that begins at 12:35 p.m. EDT.
$400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic (Race 10, 5:25 p.m. EDT), 4YO and Up, Florida-breds, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Duke of Mischief (FL), J Bravo, 117, D Fawkes
2. Dream Maestro (FL), J Leyva, 117, W Kaplan
3. Adios Charlie (FL), J Castellano, 117, S Hough
4. Decaf Again (FL), D Centeno, 117, B Rose
5. Turbo Compressor (FL), J Velazquez, 119, T Pletcher
6. Mucho Macho Man (FL), R Dominguez, 117, K Ritvo
7. Ron the Greek (FL), J Lezcano, 117, W Mott