Magna Entertainment Corp. is expected to announce Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association to run the inaugural "Sunshine Millions" on Jan. 25, 2003.
The program will include four races at Gulfstream Park and four at Santa Anita Park, each pitting Florida-breds against California-breds, and is expected to offer total purses of $5 million. The California track will host all open races while the races at Gulfstream will be for fillies and mares. Magna is also planning staggered start times to maximize simulcasting opportunities.
The races will include six with $500,000 purses: a pair of six-furlong sprints, two 1 1/8-mile turf races, and 1 1/8-mile dirt races both for fillies and mares as well as an open division. Two 1 1/16-mile dirt races restricted to 3-year-olds will also be run, each carrying a $1-million purse.
Magna originally released its plans for the Sunshine Millions last January, but concerns from the FHBPA shelved the project. According to FHBPA Executive Director Kent Stirling, those issues -- which included the lack of entry fees, equal appearance money for both locally based horses and shippers, and a staggered division of purses --have now been addressed.