Sunshine Millions day featured races run at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park today, January, 30. The series consists of six races, three at each track, with the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint, Filly and Mare Turf, and Classic being run locally at Santa Anita. Florida and California bred horses faced off in the restricted stakes race program.
The first in the series was the Filly and Mare Sprint with a parade of longshots on the tote board. Quisisana, a five-year-old mare by California sire Decarchy, captured the Filly and Mare Sprint by holding off the late charge of Dubai Majesty. The final time was a strong 1:08.47 over a fast track. Winning jockey, Rafael Bejarano, sat mid-pack down the backstretch and collared the leaders when they turned for home. “When we got to the stretch, we were in a perfect position and I gave her a chance to switch leads and she kept running,” Bejarano said. Race favorite Miss Mccall, with Tyler Baze aboard, set fast early fractions before fading in the stretch to finish fourth. Baze struggled to keep her on a straight course down the backstretch saying, “She was trying to bolt on me.”
The Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf marked Tight Precision’s third consecutive win in her last three starts. Trainer Thomas Proctor had two horses in the race who both looked good entering the contest. “I thought they both had a nice chance. I thought the filly that won had the better trip… It’s just good to win a $300,000 race. And it’s nice to win in California.” Proctor said. After a nice win two weeks ago in the El Encino G2, California-bred Pretty Unusual with jockey Chantal Sutherland, took the lead at the top of the stretch but lacked the final punch needed to get the money. Another Cal-bred, Bootleg Annie, re-rallied on the inside to finish second under Garrett Gomez.
According to the odds, the Sunshine Millions Classic looked to be a one-horse race. California-born The Usual Q.T., trained by James Cassidy, was the heavy favorite in the field of nine. But it was the seven-year-old Bold Chieftain, under all-time winning jockey Russell Baze, who found a hole and split horses to win the $500,000 Classic. William Morey Jr., the veteran trainer for Cal-bred Bold Chieftain, gave an honest opinion of his hard-trying seven-year-old, “He was really going to have to jump up with a monster today to continue thinking of going on (racing), and he came through, so I guess he wants to keep going,” Morey said. Heavy race favorite The Usual Q.T. was attempting to extend his six race winning streak, but was on a hotly contested pace throughout. “The race set up badly for us. There was too much pressure early,” his trainer Cassidy said. The question now is if they return to turf after a last place finish in today’s race.
The Sunshine Millions had clear skies for action packed racing, with a final attendance number of 21,487. California-bred horses put forth a strong showing winning two out of the three stakes held at Santa Anita. .