Feb 04, 2005
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD
By: JOE GIRARDI
The third annual Sunshine Millions was held on January 29, 2005 at
Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park. The Sunshine Millions showcases horses from both states in a head-to head competition. Points are allocated so that
the winner of each of the eight races receives 5 points. Each second place
winner receives 3 points and 1 point is awarded for third place. At the end of
the day the results are tallied and the state with the most points wins. For the third
consecutive year Florida-breds won bragging rights over California-breds winning
five of eight races with a total of 44 points to 28 points. The Florida-bred winners
were Hot Storm in the Sunshine Millions Oaks, Alix M in the Padua Stables Filly
and Mare Sprint Stakes, Lost in the Fog in the Ocala Stud Dash Stakes,
Star Over the Bay in the Warren’s Thoroughbreds Turf Stakes and Sweet Lips
in the Barretts/CTBA Distaff Stakes.
Musique Toujours, a 70-1 shot ridden by Jorge Chavez held off Zakocity
at the wire to win the $1 million Classic, capping a day of longshot winners.
Musique Toujours paid $142.20 to win in the Classic at Gulfstream Park. This
was the first stakes victory for the 5-year-old gelding. His first-place
winnings of $550,000 more than tripled his career earnings.
At Santa Anita, Cal-bred Sweet Lips staged another of the day’s upsets,
winning the $500,000 Distaff over Fencelineneighbor, paying $27.60 at
Florida-bred Star Over the Bay returned from a three-month layoff to
win the richest race of his career, the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf.
Star Over the Bay was pressured through the final quarter mile by
A to the Z, the 2-1 favorite. But Star Over the Bay was a resilient front
runner, leading by as many as 2 ½ lengths. The lead dwindled to 1 ½
lengths on the final turn. Just when it appeared Star Over the Bay
would be overtaken, he maintained his lead winning by a half length
over A to the Z. The Sunshine Millions Turf was Star Over the Bay’s first
start since he finished last of eight in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on Oct. 30.
At Santa Anita, Red Warrior defeated Full Moon Madness by a length to
win his first stakes race in the $300,000 Sprint in a race marred by
the breakdown of pacesetter Green Team. Green Team was leading the
race when he broke a bone in his front left leg and had to be destroyed.
Douglas, who was aboard, wasn’t injured. Most of the field was able
to negotiate past the stricken Green Team without incident but
Bourbon n Blues and My Cousin Matt were forced to alter course
to avoid colliding with Green Team.
Cal-bred Valentine Dancer won the $500,000 Filly & Mare Turf
for the second straight year. Valentine Dancer took the lead entering
the stretch and held off Marwood to win by a neck in a four-horse
photo finish. Valentine Dancer paid $19 to win.
Hot Storm gave Florida breds its first winner of the day in the
$250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks. Ridden by Jerry Bailey the 21-1
shot Hot Storm won by a head over She’s a Jewel paying $44.40 to win.
At Gulfstream, Florida-bred Alix M won the $300,000 Filly & Mare
Sprint by three lengths over wagering favorite Bear Fan. Last year in
the same race Bear Fan was the favorite and wound up third. Alix M, a
Florida-bred daughter of End Sweep has won six of her 10 starts since
launching her career last July. Alix M paid $11.40 after covering six
furlongs in 1:10.40 over a fast track. This improving mare has a shot to
make some noise in the filly and mare division this year; especially off
an effort like that.
In maybe the most impressive race of the day at both tracks was put
in by Lost in the Fog, who won the $250,000 Dash at Gulfstream by
four lengths over Santana Strings. After battling through the opening
quarter mile, he put some distance between himself and the rest of the
field that saw the half go in 44:3, he increased his advantage and scored
in a final time of 1:09:4. This undefeated three year old has had many
people buzzing with his owner getting offers up to $2 million. This horse
is probably not a Triple Crown contender but can make some noise in
the sprint division and in races up to a mile.
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