By Jim Freer
Since 2002, Florida’s thoroughbred racing and breeding industries have set aside a Saturday in early November with lucrative stakes races restricted to Florida-breds.
That tradition continues this afternoon at the Gulfstream Park West meet, being held at Calder Casino & Race Course in Miami Gardens.
There will be eight stakes races for Florida-breds–all with $100,000 purses. Those races are part of a ten-race card with first post time of 12:35 p.m.
The list of previous winners on “Florida Day” includes Miesque’s Approval (later the winner of the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Turf), Best of the Rest, Take D’Tour, Soldier’s Dancer and Tackleberry.
Flutterby (in the Distaff), East Hall (defending winner in the Classic) and Katie’s Kiss (in the Turf Sprint) are among star horses in today’s races. The day’s finale, the Juvenile Sprint, has Bullet Gone Astray, Fellowship and several other potential stars.
Four of today’s stakes are for 3-year-olds and up, and the other four are for 2-year-olds. The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association is contributing $25,000 to each race’s purse.
Gulfstream Park is holding the GP West meet at Calder under a lease arrangement with that track.
Gulfstream is calling today the Sunshine Millions Preview. That is because today’s races for older horses have age and distance conditions similar to the Sunshine Millions, which will be held on Jan.16 at Gulfstream in Hallandale Beach.
Through 2012, today’s event was known as the Florida Million.
On our blog we will have previews later this morning and on-site coverage this afternoon.
Here is the stakes schedule, listed in the order in which races will be run.
* Millions Turf Preview–second race, scheduled post
1:05 p.m.; 1 1/16 miles on turf; 3-year-olds and up.
* Juvenile Filly Sprint–third race, scheduled post 1:35 p.m.; 6 ½ furlongs in dirt; 2-year-old fillies
* Millions Turf Sprint Preview — fourth race; 2:05 p.m.; 5 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up
* Millions Classic Preview — fifth race; 2:35 p.m.; 1 1/16 miles on dirt; 3-year-olds and up
* Millions Distaff Preview — sixth race; 3:05 p.m., 7 furlongs on dirt; fillies and mares 3-years-old and up
* Juvenile Turf — seventh race; 3:35 p.m.; one mile 2-year-olds
* Juvenile Filly Turf — ninth race; 4:35 p.m.; one mile; 2-year-old fillies
* Juvenile Sprint — tenth race; 5:05 p.m.; 6 ½ furlongs on dirt; 2-year-olds