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Sunshine Millions Simulcast Saturday
The simulcast of the Sunshine Millions, a bicoastal event featuring rich stakes races at Gulfstream Park in Florida and Santa Anita in Southern California, will be featured Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.
The six Sunshine Millions races are restricted to horses bred in Florida and California and are worth a total of $1.8 million in purses. Three races are run at Santa Anita (the $200,000 Sprint, $300,000 Turf, and $300,000 Distaff) and three are run at Gulfstream Park (the $200,000 Filly and Mare Sprint, $300,000 Filly and Mare Turf, and $500,000 Classic).
Northern California trainers Jeff Bonde, Jerry Hollendorfer, Art Sherman and Steve Specht, and Bay Area jockeys Frank Alvarado and Russell Baze will compete in the Sunshine Millions.
Bonde and Baze will team up with the 4-year-old colt Excessive Passion in the Sprint, a six-furlong dash for 4-year-olds and up. Excessive Passion is a multiple stakes-winner who will be making his first start in more than eight months. Owned in partnership by Phil Lebherz, Alan Klein, and Rusty Brown, Excessive Passion has trained brilliantly for his 2011 debut.
Specht will send out the 4-year-old filly Antares World and the 6-year-old mare Lady Railrider in the Distaff, a 1 1/16-mile contest. Owned by their breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, Antares World and Lady Railrider both own multiple stakes victories and have earned $300,458 and $433,180, respectively. Alvarado will ride Antares World and Baze has the call on Lady Railrider, who finished second in the 2009 Sunshine Millions Distaff.
Specht’s pair in the Distaff will be joined by the Sherman-trained Ultra Blend, who closed out 2010 with victories in the California Cup Matron and Cat’s Cradle Handicap at Hollywood Park. Jockey Joel Rosario, who started his riding career in Northern California, guided Ultra Blend to her victories at Hollywood and he’ll be aboard the
5-year-old mare again Saturday. Nels Erickson owns Ultra Blend.
Hollendorfer will take aim at the day’s biggest race, the 1 1/8-mile Classic, with the promising 4-year-old gelding Honour the Deputy. Recently purchased by Hollendorfer for himself and clients Mark Dedomenico and Barnett Stables, Honour the Deputy has three wins and a second (beaten a neck) in four career starts.
Golden Gate Fields will present a live card of its own Saturday and the track has scheduled a special early post time of 12:15 p.m. for the nine-race program.
The post times for the Sunshine Millions races are as follows: Filly and Mare Sprint at Gulfstream 1:16 p.m., Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream 1:51 p.m., Sprint at Santa Anita 2:03 p.m., Classic at Gulfstream 2:26 p.m., Turf at Santa Anita 2:34 p.m., and Distaff at Santa Anita 3:05 p.m.