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Champions Return to Action on Florida Sunshine Millions Weekend
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park will be the place to be this weekend when three champions and one of the country’s most popular stars make their 2012 debuts during Florida Sunshine Millions Weekend.
Gulfstream will be abuzz from Saturday morning at 7 a.m. to Sunday evening with the running of eight stakes races worth $1.9 million. There will be 17 graded stakes winners taking part in the weekend festivities. They include the 3-year-old debut of champion Hansen in Sunday’s $400,000 Holy Bull (G3), and the 2012 debuts Saturday of undefeated Awesome Feather and champion filly and mare sprinter Musical Romance as part of Gulfstream’s $1.3 million Florida Sunshine Millions Day.
There will be $200,000 guarantees on the Late Pick-4 both Saturday and Sunday and a $100,000 guarantee both days on the Pick-5. Gulfstream will also celebrate the HBO series LUCK by partnering with Santa Anita Park on a Pick-6 with a $250,000 guarantee. Three of the races will be part of Gulfstream’s Florida Sunshine Millions Day and three will be part of Santa Anita’s Sunshine Millions program.
Fans can also win the HBO Luck $50,000 Challenge by simply going to Facebook.com/LUCKHBO, liking the page, and then reserving your “betting ticket.”
The big weekend kicks off at 7 a.m. with Breakfast at Gulfstream featuring special guests John Velazquez and Kent Desormeaux. Velazquez won last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) with Animal Kingdom while Hall of Fame member Desormeaux was the regular rider of Kentucky Derby, Preakness (G1) and Florida Derby (G1) winner Big Brown.
Parking and admission is always free at Gulfstream. The all-you-can eat breakfast is $8. Parents and kids are encouraged to take one of the free barn tours beginning at approximately 9 a.m. with host Lisa Wintermote.
Post time both Saturday and Sunday is 12:35 p.m. The first of the six Florida Sunshine Millions races Saturday will be the $300,000 Distaff at 2:35 p.m. featuring the undefeated 4-year-old filly Awesome Feather, voted champion in 2010 after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
The $150,000 Filly & Mare Sprint, with champion Musical Romance, will quickly follow. The $400,000 Classic, set to go off at approximately 5:25 p.m., will feature Mucho Macho Man, third in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and Turbo Compressor.
Sunday’s action kicks off at 11 a.m. with a handicapping seminar in Sport of Kings featuring ESPN’s Hank Goldberg and hosted by Gulfstream handicapper Ed Gray. Sunday’s races will include two of the first steps on the road to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (G1) with the running of the one-mile Holy Bull for 3-year-old colts and the $200,000 Forward Gal (G2) at seven furlongs for 3-year-old fillies.
The Holy Bull will feature champion Hansen, who will be making his first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. Others entered include trainer Todd Pletcher’s undefeated Algorithms and Consortium, beaten last out by Algorithms. The Forward Gal will feature Old Hat (G3) winner Sacristy