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Jan 29, 2004

ATC Lead

By: Joe Girardi

            On January 24th at Gulfstream and Santa Anita they held the second annual Sunshine Millions.

These are races that pit Florida breds versus California breds in eight separate races run at two different


            In the first race at Gulfstream the Ocala Stud Oaks for three year old fillies the race went to the heavy

favorite SILENT SIGHS, who had to overcome traffic trouble in the stretch to score by a neck over the second


            In the next race the Padua Stables Sprint, the winner again was the heavy favorite, SHAKE YOU DOWN.

After sitting off the 100-1 shot LOVE MY MOUNTAIN, for a quarter of a mile, he took over the lead to go on to

an easy three length score. The time of 1:09 flat was solid and it looks like he will be in line for another top year

again. GREEN TEAM finished second while VALID VIDEO finished third after returning from an injury that he

suffered in the Breeders’ Cup sprint.

            In the next race the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Distaff for four year old and upward fillies and mares we saw the

biggest upset of the day. SECRET REQUEST closed from last to get up for the score at 74-1. The favorite in the

race, HOUSE PARTY, who was trying two turns for the first time never made any impact and finished seventh.

PESCI, who is named for the famous actor Joe Pesci was in good position on the turn but faltered late to finish

ninth. However, after the race it was found that PESCI had been hit by either a rock or a clod of dirt in the eye and

is in danger of losing that eye from the infection. This was just cause for the horse to stop for no apparent reason.    

            The next and final race at Gulfstream was the Franks Farm Turf race for four year old and upward at 1 and 1/8th

miles. The winner was PROUD MAN, who closed from well back to get up and score over the pacesetter

HEAR NO EVIL. The favorite in the race MAN FROM WICKLOW, finished dead last after returning from an April


            Moving to Santa Anita and their races. The first race was NATC Dash, for three year olds going six

furlongs, the winner was SAINT AFLEET by a head. The favorite in the race was ICE WYNND FIRE, trained by

Bobby Frankel and ridden by Jerry Bailey. This was the third straight race that ICE WYNND FIRE lost at odds-on.

The time of the race was solid in 1:08:3.

            The next race was the NEXTEL Filly and Mare Sprint. The winner was a shipper MOOJI MOO, who was sent

right to the lead and never looked back scoring by ¾’s of a length. The favorite in the race was BEAR FAN, again

ridden by Jerry Bailey had to settle for a dead heat for third. The time of the race was slower than the prior race, 1:09:1.

            The John Deere Filly and Mare turf race at 1 and 1/8th miles was next. The winner of this race was

VALENTINE DANCER, who enjoyed a perfect trip on the rail and was able to find room in the  stretch to score by ¾’s

of a length. The favorite in the race was again a horse ridden by Jerry Bailey, ATLANTIC OCEAN, she was sent right

to the lead but faded badly in the drive to finish 10th.

            The final race of the Sunshine Millions was the Barretts/CTBA Classic for four year old and upward, run at

1 and 1/8th miles for a purse of $1 million. The favorite in the race was yet another Bobby Frankel/Jerry Bailey

combination in PEACE RULES. Coming off a poor performance in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, it looked as if he had found

a perfect spot for his return. He finished an even fourth, never making any impact and he had to be ridden just to keep

his position in the early stages of the race. The winner of the race was SOUTHERN IMAGE, who stalked the pace in

third and took over for an easy score. Coming off a win in the Malibu on the day after Christmas, SOUTHERN IMAGE

followed it up with a strong performance and may be one to reckon with in the handicap division this year.

            Florida breds won six of eight races on the day and won the competition on points, 45-27. The scoring system

was 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.


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