2019 Sunshine Millions Preview

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By Emily Shields

Four races for Florida-bred horses worth a total of $600,000 will be held Saturday, January 19, at Gulfstream Park. 

The annual Sunshine Millions was an event started in 2003, originally pitting Florida-breds against California-breds at both Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita. In 2012, the event was divided into separate contests with Gulfstream inheriting the brunt of the races.

The first stakes race of the day is the Sunshine Millions Sprint (race 4), a $100,000 contest over six furlongs on the main track. The race is headlined by X Y Jet, who will be going for his third Sprint title after winning the race in 2016 and 2018. His two victories have come by 4 ½ and 5 ½ lengths, respectively, and his game plan is simple: Go to the lead and run the competition off their feet. He has not run since June, but his overall record of 10 wins in 22 starts and over $1.5 million earned, as well as six of his 10 wins coming over this strip, make him a formidable foe. Reason to Soar has also been off since June, exiting the same race as his opponent, the Smile Sprint (G3). He is four for five lifetime at Gulfstream.

The day culminates with the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Classic (race 11), for older colts and geldings going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. Dalmore from the rail makes his first Gulfstream start after previously racing – in order – at Golden Gate, Del Mar, Santa Anita, Oaklawn Park, Prairie Meadows, Saratoga, Keeneland, and Laurel Park. The big horse has not won since February of 2018, but was nipped in two stakes races since then. Forevamo is coming off a win in the Zia Park Championship in November. Mr. Jordan is only one for 17 at Gulfstream, but won the Millions Classic Preview Stakes across town at Gulfstream Park West.

Noble Drama has finished in the top three spots in six of his last seven starts, while Souper Tapit, breaking from the outside, is coming off a nine-length romp in an allowance optional claimer that came off the grass in December. Jay’s Way is the race’s defending champion; he won last year’s event by a half-length over Mr. Jordan.

Highlighting the undercard is the Sunshine Millions Turf (race 6), worth $150,000. Nine runners will travel 1 1/16 miles. While there is only one four-year-old in the race, there are two seven-year-olds and even an eight-year-old, Chiseled, who is entered for main track only. Galleon Mast, who won the local prep race and is the defending champion, will miss defending his crown and was not entered. Expected Ruler is coming off a win locally over a mile. Big Changes had a strong 2018 season; the Brad Cox-trainee finished first or second in all seven of his starts. He was grade 3 placed at Churchill Downs two back.

The Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf (race 10) is also worth $150,000. A field of 13 older fillies and mares will go 1 1/16 miles on the grass. Defending champion and grade 2 winner Starship Jubilee is back but will break from Post 13. Southern Sis, two for three over the course, is coming off a win in the OBS Filly and Mare Sprint, and Shanghai Starlet won the Millions Distaff Stakes at Gulfstream Park West. She is four for eight lifetime. Mrs. Ramona G. has won three allowance events in a row in both New York and Florida. Picara won the prep for this race at Gulfstream Park West. 

Gulfstream will host 12 races on Saturday, with first post being 11:45am Eastern.

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