(from Sunshine Million release)
A total of 130 horses, including several major stakes winners, have been pre-entered for the second running of the $3.6 million Sunshine Million at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park on Jan. 24. The unique eight-race series matches Florida-breds and California-breds in eight weight-for-age contests, four at each of two of the country's most scenic and historic racetracks.Florida and California rank second and third, respectively, behind Kentucky among American states in the size of annual foal crops.This year, Santa Anita will host the $1 million Sunshine Million Barretts/CTBA Classic. The West Coast venue will also offer the $500,000 John Deere Filly & Mare Turf; the $300,000 Nextel Filly & Mare Sprint, and the $250,000 NATC Dash.Gulfstream will card the $500,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales Distaff; the $500,000 Franks Farms Turf; the $300,000 Padua Stables Sprint, and the $250,000 Ocala Stud Oaks.The Classic, which will have a field of 12, drew 24 pre-entries, including grade I winners Peace Rules (Haskell Invitational and Blue Grass Stakes) and Southern Image (Malibu Stakes), both Florida-breds.Other graded stakes winners pre-entered in the 1 1/8-mile event for 4-year-olds and up are California-breds Grey Memo, Excessivepleasure and Standard Setter, and Florida-breds Midas Eyes and Rojo Toro. Both Midas Eyes and Rojo Toro are also pre-entered in the Sprint. The Turf, for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 mile, drew the most pre-entries, 27, but only 12 will be allowed to start. The grass test attracted grade I winners Ringaskiddy (San Juan Capistrano), a California bred, and Man From Wicklow (Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap), a Florida bred. Other stakes winners pre-entered are Supah Blitz, Western Pride, and Adminniestrator.A total of 16 fillies and mares were pre-entered in the Distaff, which will have a field of 12. Topping the Florida-bred contingent in the 1 1/16-mile event will be House Party, a grade I winner (Prioress Stakes), and graded stakes winners Ivanavinalot, Lindsay Jean and Smok'n Frolic. California-bred stakes winners in the event are Royally Chosen and Super High.Atlantic Ocean, a California-raced Florida-bred who won the inaugural Sunshine Million Oaks last year at Santa Anita, tops the list of 14 pre-entered in the F/M Turf this year. A field of 12 will be drawn for the event.Other major winners pre-entered in the 1 1/8-mile test for fillies and mares are California breds Summer Wind Dancer, Bartok's Blithe, Moscow Burning, Tucked Away and Valentine Dancer, and Florida breds Lost Appeal, All the Honor and Fencelineneighbor.The F/M Sprint at six furlongs, attracted 14 pre-entries, so all would be allowed to start. Topping the group of fillies and mares are graded stakes winners Icantgoforthat, a California bred, and Florida breds Barbara O'Brien and Madame Pietra.Another winner on the first Sunshine Million program, Valid Video, is back to top the Sprint. As a 3-year-old last season, Valid Video, a Florida-bred, won the Sunshine Million Dash, and later that year scored in the grade I King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga. Other graded stakes winners among the 13 pre-entered in the Sprint (all will be allowed to start), are Rojo Toro, Shake You Down, King Robyn, and Tour of the Cat. Midas Eyes, also pre-entered in the Classic, is slated to run in the Sprint.The two events for 3-year-olds, the Oaks and the Dash, each drew 11 pre-entries, so all will be allowed to start.The field for the Dash at six furlongs includes stakes winners Don'tsellmeshort, He's the Rage and Race For Glory, all California breds.Topping the pre-entries for the Oaks are stakes winners Silent Sighs, a California bred, and Dixie High, a Florida bred. Sunshine Million runners traveling from Florida to California, are scheduled to ship on Jan. 20. California runners going to Florida leave on Jan. 21.Every "shipper" to either Santa Anita or Gulfstream who fails to finish in the top five in a Sunshine Million race will receive $10,000.This year, all sprint races will have maximum fields of 14. The distance events will have maximum fields of 12.Post time for the first Sunshine Millions race, the Oaks at Gulfstream, is 3:45 p.m. EST, with the Classic at Santa Anita scheduled to go off at 5:45 p.m. EST. Seven of the eight Sunshine Million races will be televised live on the NBC-TV network during a two-hour show from 4-6 p.m. EST.