Sunshine Millions on-track attendance Saturday showed a combined 22% increase over the inaugural 2003 running of the series at Gulfstream and Santa Anita parks.Gulfstream was up a whopping 35% from 18,719 last year to 25,179. Santa Anita showed a gain of 10% on-track, up to 18,888 from 17,108, despite cool, overcast weather on Saturday."This was the second time (for the Sunshine Millions) and it was good," said Magna Entertainment Corporation Chairman Frank Stronach. MEC owns Santa Anita and Gulfstream. "I think it's going to get better every year. I'd like to see a $2 million race someday. It wasn't a sunny day (at Santa Anita). Nevertheless, we were up about 1,500."
The unique Sunshine Millions, conceived by Stronach, matches California breds against Florida breds in head-to-head competition in four races at Santa Anita and Gulfstream worth a combined $3.6 million On the day, Florida breds won six of the eight races and won the competition on points, 45-27, based on five for first, three for second and one for third. Florida breds won the inaugural competition last year, 56-16, taking seven of eight races. A total of six Cal breds competed in the four races at Gulfstream among 39 horses entered. In the California races, horses bred in the Golden State had a 26-20 entry advantage over Florida. Horses based in Southern California won three of the four races at Santa Anita, while three of the four races at Gulfstream were won by Florida-based horses.