Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion Mucho Macho Man is the headliner for Saturday’s Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream Park, six stakes races restricted to Florida breds with $1.3 million in purses.
His win in the Classic at Santa Anita last November was the Moment of the Year in voting conducted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and was ranked number one according to my Horse Racing’s Top Moments of 2013 at Bleacher Report.
On Saturday he is the 2-5 morning line chalk in the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic where he takes on five overmatched Florida breds.
The Kathy Ritvo trainee won the race in 2012 but last year was eased in the mud as the 2-5 favorite. The six-year-old will catch a fast track on Saturday and Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens is back on board the son of Macho Uno.
He won the Breeders’ Cup Classic by a nose over Will Take Charge, who came back to win the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs in his next outing on Nov. 29. Also exiting the Classic and winning next out were Last Gunfighter, who won the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2) on Nov. 30 and Flat Out, who won the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.
The runner with the best shot of pulling off the upset may be Bernie the Maestro, who was the beaten favorite last out in the Claiming Crown Jewel but won three of his previous seven starts over the main track at Gulfstream Park.
Two back in the slop at Indiana Downs he won the Michael G. Schaefer Memorial. The gelding looks the like the best of the rest but would have to run a career top and our top pick would have to misfire for him to pull off the upset.
All of the Sunshine Millions races are included in Saturday’s Best Plays Report. Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s play of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 6 The Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf (Post time 3:05 ET)
3 Wishing Gate 9-5
1 Parranda 4-1
5 Silsita 3-1
4 Nicki Starshine 15-1
Analysis: Wishing Gate checked in sixth but was only beaten 1 1/2 lengths last out in the Matriarch (G1) at Hollywood Park going a mile. Two back she won the Autumn Miss (G3) at Santa Anita despite getting off a beat slow. The runner up in that race was Journey On, who came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in her next outing and then run fifth in the La Brea (G1). The Ton Proctor trainee also won the San Clemente ‘Cap (G2) this summer at Del Mar. She is 0 for 2 at nine furlongs but did run a good second in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) at the distance. She will be tough here as she drops out of graded stakes company and takes on Florida breds.
Parranda won the prep for this race two back in the Millions Filly & Mare Preview and then last out checked in fourth in the My Charmer (G3), beaten 1 3/4 lengths. She has won four of her nine starts over the turf here and is in the best form of her career, coming off back-to-back career tops. She likes to have a little give to the ground but the turf should be firm today.
WIN: #3 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,3,4,5
TRI: 1,3 / 1,2,4,5 / 1,2,3,4,5
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