Magna, Horsemen Agree to Sunshine Pact

Magna Entertainment Corp., the originator of the Sunshine Millions, announced Aug. 13 that it has signed an agreement extending the Florida-California Thoroughbred series through 2006.

Magna signed the agreement with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, Inc.

The 2004 event will take place on Jan. 24 at Santa Anita and Gulfstream parks, with guaranteed purses for the day of $3.6 million.

In May, Jim McAlpine, president and CEO of Magna, announced an agreement to air a live two-hour Sunshine Millions broadcast on NBC Sports for each of the next three years.

The Sunshine Millions was designed to pit the best California-bred horses against the best Florida-bred horses. The series consists of an eight-race card alternating between Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park - two of MEC's premier winter racing facilities.

Conceived by Frank Stronach, chairman and founder of MEC, the 2003 Sunshine Millions was one of horse racing's most successful inaugural events, contributing to increases in attendance and handle for the day across MEC's entire network of racetracks of 41% and 32% respectively.