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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sunshine Millions Notes

Had to chuckle during the opening of NBC’s Sunshine Millions telecast. They were trying to convey the idea was that the Breeders Cup Classic closes the racing year, the Millions open the year, and in the middle we have......the Preakness? No disrespect meant, but it struck me as an odd choice until I recalled that Magna owns Pimlico. The Belmont is actually the major stakes race closest to the actual mid-point of the year, so NBC, pissed at losing the race to ABC, could have made that call instead.

It was a snappy telecast with little time for analysis, but enough for an infomercial about Gulfstream and Frank Stronach’s vision for the industry to collaborate and work together. I shuddered when they promoted a piece about Santa Anita, but that turned out to be replays of the greatest races there, including Alysheba’s dramatic 1987 Big Cap win over Ferdinand, and Seabiscuit’s Big Cap win as well. After the latter, Tom Hammond and Charlsie Cantey did a good job discussing the controversy over stablemate Kayak’s seeming lack of effort (which seems apparent watching the race). The NBC crew was sharp, with Battaglia picking Distaff winner Sweet Lips ($27.60); and Neumeier tabbing Sprint victor Alix M ($11.40) as well as longshot near-miss Marwood in the Filly and Mare Turf. Donna Barton Brothers, before that race, vehemently disputed Neumeier’s suggestion that eventual winner Valentine Dancer may not be fit for the race as suggested by her overlaid odds, and after initially expressing doubt about Lost in the Fog’s readiness after his mercurial Turf Paradise race and cross country trip, she changed her mind once she saw him on the track. I’d felt bad for Gulfstream track announcer Vic Stauffer having to step aside for Tom Durkin, but once they were off I rememberd why NBC bothered to fly him in, though he was sometimes drowned out by crowd noise.

Though Florida “won” the competition based on some points system and Florida-breds won five out of the 8 races, the results won’t do much for Florida stallion owners, as none of the winners had sires that currently stand there. Stormy Atlantic (sire of Oaks winner Hot Storm) and Cozzene (Turf winner Star Over the Bay in possibly the most exciting race of the day) stand in Kentucky, as does Lost Soldier (Lost in the Fog), who moved there from Florida for the 2005 season. Benchmark (Sprint longshot Red Warrior) is a son of Alydar who stands in California; Red Warrior is at least his 8th stakes winner. In Excess (Valentine Dancer) also stands in California, as does Musique d’Enfer, sire of the 70-1 Classic winner Musique Toujours. Musique d’Enfer is a son of Stop of Music who stands privately and about whom there’s little information, and according to this chart from Bloodhorse, only had four runners in 2004. End Sweep (Alix M) and Kris S. (Sweet Lips) are deceased.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Good commentary. I think Donna Barton is excellent too.