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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

 12-1 odds.

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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