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2011 Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream Set for Saturday


Top contenders across all divisions from Florida and California are set to face off on two different tracks as the 2011 edition of the Sunshine Millions is set to unfold at Santa Anita and Gulfstream. A full $2,000,000 in stakes purses is up for grabs and there are plenty of interesting variables to examine. In this preview, we’ll be taking a look at the stakes races set to kick off for Saturday.

Sunshine Millions Fillies and Mares Sprint

An accomplished group of short-distance fillies and mares are set to contest this 6f dash and Amen Hallelujah (Montbrook) is a strong morning line favourite despite coming off a nearly seven month lay-off. A multiple grade 2 winner she is also stakes-placed at grade 1 level. It’s important to note that she hasn’t scored at 6f since September of 2009 at Arlington. She will be a factor in the stretch but one has to wonder whether she will need the race or not but the bullet work at 5f on January 7 catches the eye somewhat. Priced at 6/1, Wildcat Heriress (Wildcat Heir) is a blue collar filly made good and she boasted an emphatic score on her first step up to stakes company- an ungraded effort at Fair Grounds on December 18. She will be looking to dictate the pace and might need to get it exactly right if next-door neighbor Broken Dreams (Broken Vow) wants the early lead as well. If Wildcat can set her type of pace around 22.25 or so, then she’ll be in the drivers’ seat.

Sunshine Millions Fillies and Mares Turf

A talented group of older females will contest this grassy 1m1f spin around Gulfstream. Dynaslew (Dynaformer) is a first-class female who consistently posted 90+ Beyers throughout 2010, culminating with a fantastic 99 in a grade 2 handicap at Saratoga back in August. At 7/2 she looks the lukewarm early favourite and she gets Coa back for the trip this time – notable as the two have hit well together in the past. Wild Mia (Wildcat Heir) floats at around 8/1 but stretches out to 1m1f for the first time. Askbut I Won’ttell (Horse Chestnut) enters off the back of a pair of grade 3 scores but tackles the Gulfstream turf for the first time. Romin Robin (Pure Precision) could go off at a very nice price with a 12/1 ML listing at the moment. She nearly got there in an 80K optional claimer for the N3X condition. It was a 1m grass contest at Gulfstream and she looked like she still had plenty in the tank but was undone by going 3 wide. If she hits anywhere near 20/1, she’ll be a strong play and could get up for a slice, at least, if she finds the company too tough for the score.

Sunshine Millions Classic

The showpiece of the day’s action from both coasts, the 2011 Sunshine Millions Classic unites some of the most high-quality contenders from the east coast for this 1m1f dirt contest. A notable name in all major contests during his three year-old campaign, it can be tough to remember that Dale Romans’ First Dude (Stephen Got Even) still hasn’t scored since a maiden break back at Gulfstream in January of 2010. As an early speed type, he gets a little help drawing the 1 stall but with some serious late pace on show in this one, he might find himself having to settle for minor honours once again. If anybody wants to get up and challenge the aptly-named First Dude, it’s likely going to be Birdrun (Birdstone) who’s been laid-off since November 13 after scoring by 4.5 lengths at Calder; prior to that he posted an impressive 105 Beyer in an optional claimer/n3x when sent off around 9/2. He has flashed tactical speed in the past so he has more outs than many other speedy types if things aren’t going his way. The morning line looks good for him with a slim 3/1 price. The lightly-raced grey Honour the Deputy (Honour and Glory) switches to John Velazquez for this one and he’s never finished outside the top two in his four race career. This is a massive step up in class but he looked very progressive jumping from an 83 Beyer two-out to a 94 Beyer in a weak-looking OC at Laurel. He has never really been tested though, his only loss was an unlucky 2nk so you can see him taking some money in the exotic pools. 

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