Sunshine Millions: $3.6M in Purses in California, Florida

The Sunshine Millions, a series for California-breds and Florida-breds, will be held Jan. 25, 2003, according to Magna Entertainment. The program will feature four races each at Gulfstream Park in Florida and Santa Anita Park in California, both of which are owned by Magna.

The Sunshine Millions, more than a year in the making, is the result of collaboration among the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association, the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, Gulfstream, Santa Anita, and Magna.

The starting fields for each of the eight races will be comprised of an equal number of Florida-bred and California-bred entries. Purses with range from $250,000 to $1 million per race, for a total of $3.6 million in guaranteed purses for the day.

Magna chairman Frank Stronach said the event "will allow two of the country's best Thoroughbred breeding states to compete against each other in an exciting and unique way. We have great plans for this day and, ultimately, we hope to grow the Sunshine Millions into a premier event on the annual racing calendar."

TOC director Don Valpredo said the timing of the event "will ensure that it is enthusiastically received across the country."

Doug Burge, executive vice president and general manager of the CTBA, said the Sunshine Millions "will further enhance the value of and increase the demand for quality Cal-breds."

Dick Hancck, executive vice president of the FTBOA, and Kent Stirling executive director of the Florida HBPA, both said the event should be of benefit to Florida.