Friday, January 28, 2011

The $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic

The Sunshine Millions is Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream and Santa Anita. It will match up some of the finest Florida and California-breds in training right now in a series of six races, three at each racetrack. The highlight of the Gulfstream card is the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, which will consist of ten Florida-breds led by morning line favorite, First Dude. None of the races in the Sunshine Millions are graded and in fact, there is only one graded race on the docket on Saturday, one that doesn't really interest me that much, so let's take a look at the Sunshine Millions Classic:

The top choice is 12-1 shot, #4 Black Hills. Black Hills should benefit from what promises to be a hot pace in the Classic from First Dude, Tackleberry, and Birdrun. It is my thought that those three will burn each other out and set things up for a nice closer to get up and take it late. Black Hills is my choice to do exactly that. He managed to do that job nicely in his last nine races in New Mexico, finishing either first or third in each of them. Don't be fooled by the fact that these races were in New Mexico. I think that Mine That Bird proved that racing in the Land Of Enchantment has come a long way in a short period of time. For second, I will use the morning-line choice, #1 First Dude. I find it interesting that despite the number of excellent races this colt put forth in 2010, he has not won since breaking the maiden at Gulfstream Park on January 30. That's right, the Preakness runner-up and third-place finisher in races like the Grade 1 Travers, Grade 1 Haskell, and even the Belmont Stakes, is still eligible for non-winners of two. Of the expected speed horses in this race, I think he might be the most apt to sit back off the pace a touch and try to make a middle move for the lead, but that still be not be enough to hold off the cavalry here. John Velazquez rides the third choice in here, #10 Honour The Deputy. The grey gelding has not raced since a victory at one mile at Laurel. He has won three times in four lifetime starts and has that come-from-behind running style which should work in this spot. I do find it odd that this horse trained up to this race at Santa Anita before shipping east for it. This will be his first start for new trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. For fourth, I will use #5 Birdrun, a Bill Mott trainee making his first start of 2011. His last two workouts were bullets and his last win at Calder in a state-restricted stakes race was impressive and he defeated some of those he will be facing here. Here is the play for the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic:

$5 WP #4
$1 EX BOX 1-4-5-9-10
TOTAL- $30

Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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