Sunshine Millions and Eclipse Awards

Molly Jo Rosen

January 17th, 2014

Gulfstream Park will be the center of the racing universe on Saturday as they will host the Sunshine Millions during the day and the Eclipse Awards in the evening.  There will be six races run on the Sunshine Millions card, with the feature being the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic headlined by Mucho Macho Man.

The Classic is basically the public workout for Mucho Macho Man.  The only graded stakes winner in the field to face Mucho Macho Man is Gourmet Dinner. He won the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot in 2010. Bernie the Maestro did win the Schaefer Memorial in the slop at Indiana Downs in October.  But as long as Gary Stevens keeps Mucho Macho Man out of trouble, the Kathy Ritvo trainee should not break a sweat versus these.

The Sunshine Millions Sprint is a very intriguing race featuring two former claimers with plenty of early speed. Ribo Bobo was claimed for $8000 on January 9 last year.  That was his first victory of 2013 and by the time he ended the year with a victory in the Claiming Crown Express, he had a record of 10 for 11.  Star Harbour was claimed for  $30,000 on August 29.  He won the Sunshine State Stakes on December 8 and then ran third in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector as the favorite.

These two horses should guarantee a fast early pace and set up the race for someone to come off the pace. Fort Loudon looks to be the horse to take advantage of the pace scenario.  Winner of the Grade 3 Gulfstream Sprint Championship last year, he has good tactical speed and should make the first run for the lead when the pace setters start to tire.

The Sunshine Millions Turf basically is it two horse race between Tune Me In and Bad Debt.  The main pacesetter of the race will be Tune Me In.  If he doesn't get early pressure from Racing Aptitude, the Christophe Clement trainee can wire the field.  Bad Debt has good tactical speed to stay close to pace but may need a little pace pressure in order to get the victory.

The Sunshine Millions Filly And Mares Sprint should have fast pace set up by the four outside horses in race.  Two horses there are also entered in the Sunshine Millions Distaff should be able to take advantage of this if they stay in this race. Sweet N Discreet and My Pal Chrisy both have running styles to take advantage of a suicidal speed duel.  All of the victories for Sweet N Discreet have been at this distance.  My Pal Chrisy has won going short and long. She is reunited with Jonathan Gonzales, who is three for three aboard her.

The Sunshine Millions Filly And Mares Turf looks to be a jockey's race and in this situation how can we go against Eclipse Award jockey finalist Gary Stevens.  He is riding Wishing Gate for his long time friend Tom Proctor.  Last time he rode her he won the Grade 3 Autumn Miss at Santa Anita. Parranda won the prep for this race in November under Jose Lezcano and is the main competition.

The Sunshine Millions Distaff has a field of seven but could scratch down to five.  No matter what, Toasting looks to be the best in race.  Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Toasting comes off a second place finish in the Grade 3 Comely. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, the Tom Albertrani trainee should stalk the pace and takeover whenever she pleases for the victory.

At Santa Anita the Grade 2 Strub Stakes will be run.  The morning line favorite is Hear the Ghost.  He comes off a second place finish as the favorite versus Blueskiesnrainbows in the Grade 3 Native Diver.  Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, he will be joined in the starting gate by his stable mate Zeewat, who was third in the Grade 1 Malibu.  The winner of the Malibu, Shakin It Up, will also run here.  His stable mate Governor Charlie will make his first start since tiring in the Preakness.