‘Macho Man’ & Ron the Greek Lead Prospects for Sunshine Millions
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s 5-year-old Mucho Macho Man and Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable and Jack Hammer’s 6-year-old Ron the Greek, second and fourth, respectively, last out in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, appear to be on course to clash again in the $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic to be run at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 19.
The Sunshine Millions Classic at 1 1/8 miles will be the climax of this year’s series of six races for Florida-breds to be run that afternoon. Trainer Kathy Ritvo sent out Mucho Macho Man to win the race last year by 1 ½ lengths over the Bill Mott-trained Ron the Greek in their first meeting. Another high-profile starter targeted for the race this year is Jacks or Better Farm’s 4-year-old Fort Loudon, trained by Nick Zito.
Leading the likely cast for the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at 1 1/8 miles will be Live Oak Plantation’s 6-year-old mare Successful Song, closing out her career for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. before being bred next spring. Stronach Stable’s outstanding filly Awesome Feather won the race last year to remain undefeated at the time.
Completing the Sunshine Millions stakes line-up:
$150,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at 1 1/8 miles on turf – WinStar Farm’s 6-year-old Doubles Partner could be the horse to beat for trainer Todd Pletcher as he makes his first start since finishing third in the Citation Handicap (G2) at Hollywood Park in late November.
$150,000 Sunshine Million Filly & Mare Turf at 1 1/8 mile on turf – Frank Calabrese’s 7-year-old Romacaca, a winner of 16 of 32 career starts and closing in on the $1 million career earnings mark, leads the probable field after winning the South Beach Stakes over the course last out Dec. 9.
$150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at six furlongs – Donald Dizney’s 4-year-old Bahamian Squall will be among the choices having a stakes victory at the meet when drawing off to an impressive 3 ½ lengths score in the Sunshine State Stakes on Dec. 2 for trainer David Fawkes.
$150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint – Brenda Mercer and Peter Berglar’s 4-year-old Emma’s Encore, winner of the Prioress Stakes (G1) last summer at Saratoga for Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, has been pointed for this race since arriving for the season in November.
The Florida Sunshine Millions will be part of a huge day of festivities at Gulfstream, culminating with the 42nd annual Eclipse Awards.