First Dude

First Dude

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography

Sunshine Millions Classic All-Florida Affair

No California-breds in field of 10 for Jan. 29 race at Gulfstream Park.

Now in its ninth year, the Sunshine Millions was designed as an annual competition between California-breds and Florida-breds racing at Magna-owned tracks on each Coast.

The question of which state will win the $500,000 Classic will be a moot point, however, on Jan. 29 when the centerpiece of the six Sunshine Millions races is renewed at Gulfstream Park. All 10 Classic entrants here bred in Florida.

Topping the field for the 1 1/8-mile Classic is Donald Dizney’s homebred First Dude , a 4-year-old better known for the races in which he has placed. The son of Stephen Got Even has been on the board in 10 of his 12 career starts, but nine of those were placings to go along with a single victory.

Trained by Dale Romans, First Dude finished second in last year’s Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) and his competitiveness in classic races was also displayed when third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The colt finished third last year in three other grade I stakes—IZOD Haskell Invitational, Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, and Travers.

Drawing the inside post under jockey Kent Desormeaux, First Dude will be making his first start since finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I)  won by Blame  at Churchill Downs last Nov. 6.

The Sunshine Millions Classic drew a well-balanced field of older horses that includes millionaire Dry Martini as well as the well-traveled Duke of Mischief .

An 8-year-old gelding by Slew Gin Fizz trained by Barclay Tagg for owner Carol Nyren, Dry Martini has nine wins and 13 placings in 35 starts, with a bankroll in excess of $1.3 million. Although winless in six 2010 outings, Dry Martini finished second to Quality Road in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) and was third in the Mad Hatter Stakes at Aqueduct. Dry Martini will have the services of Javier Castellano.

Duke of Mischief , a 5-year-old son of Graeme Hall, has been first or second in half his 18 career starts while earning $971,546. Trained by David Fawkes for the partnership of Alex and Joann Lieblong, Marilyn McMaster, and Fawkes Racing Stable, Duke of Mischief has won four stakes, all at different tracks, and has placed in three stakes, only one of which was at a track where he was a stakes winner. Included among his wins were the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) and Philip H. Iselin and Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (both gr. III) in 2010.

Two other Sunshine Millions races—Filly & Mare Turf and Filly & Mare Sprint—take placed at Gulfstream Park. The three other Sunshine Millions that will be run at Santa Anita Park are the Sprint, Turf, and Distaff.

HRTV will provide coverage of the Sunshine Millions.

$500,0000 Sunshine Millions Classic (Race 10 5:26 p.m.) 4 & up, Bred in California or Florida, and  registered with the CTBA or FTBOA, 1 1/8 miles
1.     First Dude (FL), K Desormeaux, 120, D Romans
2.     Duke of Mischief (FL), E Coa, 122, D Fawkes
3.     Tackleberry (FL), J Santiago, 120, L Olivares
4.     Black Hills (FL), M Hernandez, 122, B Hone
5.     Birdrun (FL), R Maragh, 122, W Mott
6.     King Ghidorah (FL), J Alvarez, 122, B Parbhoo
7.     Cigar Man (FL), J Leparoux, 122, V Cerin
8.     Dry Martini (FL), J Castellano, B Tagg
9.     Dream Maestro (FL), J Leyva, 122, W Kaplan
10.    Honour the Deputy (FL), J Velazquez, 120, J Hollendorfer