Ten Things You Should Know: Sunshine Millions
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
Originally published on January 27, 2011
1) The Sunshine Millions is a series of six races open to Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida. At one point purses exceeded one million dollars, in 2017 the total purse money is $600,000.
2) Prior to 2012, the races were all run on a single day in January at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida and Santa Anita Park in Acadia, California. The series was for both California and Florida breds.
3) The series was created in 2003 by Magna Entertainment (now the Stronach Group), the corporation that owns Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park. It received network television coverage for all of its early history, but NBC stopped covering the event after the 2007 edition. ESPN2 televised the Millions card in 2008, but it has not been on a network television since.
4) The series was originally comprised of eight races. The Oaks and Dash, both at 6 furlongs and restricted to 3-year-olds, were dropped from the Sunshine Millions day card in 2010. The purses for the remaining six races were also cut in 2010.
5) The biggest race carded on Millions Day is the Classic, which is run at 1 1/8 miles and currently has a purse of $200,000.
6) The Florida-bred and champion sprinter Lost in the Fog won the Sunshine Millions Dash in 2005 as a 3-year-old. He is the subject of a documentary released in 2008.
7) Florida-bred Ginger Punch, the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner and Eclipse Award winner for older female, won the Sunshine Millions Distaff in the first race of her 2008 campaign. Mucho Macho Man, winner of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic, also won the 2014 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic in the first race of his 2014 campaign and the last victory of his career.
8) After finishing seventh in the 2005 Sunshine Millions Classic, the great Cal-bred Lava Man returned to win the 2006 edition of the race. He won the 2007 Sunshine Millions Turf, making him the only horse to complete that double.
9) In 2006, Florida-bred Miesque’s Approval won Sunshine Millions Turf at odds 48-1. Later that year, he won the Breeders’ Cup Mile at odds of 24-1.
10) In 2012, Little Mike won the Sunshine Millions Turf. He went on to win the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, the Arlington Million in Chicago, and pulled off a shocker in winning the Breeders Cup Turf. His 2012 campaign has made him a leading candidate for Horse of the Year.