Go Between wins $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic
ARCADIA, Calif. -- Go Between won the $1 million Classic in an upset Saturday, giving trainer Bill Mott his third victory of the day and helping Florida-bred horses defeat their California counterparts in the sixth annual Sunshine Millions.
After two consecutive days of washouts, it was sunny and windy at Santa Anita, allowing the event to go off despite a troublesome synthetic track that hasn't drained or dried as it should since its installation last fall.
Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Go Between covered 1 1-8 miles in 1:45.64 at Santa Anita and paid $12, $6.60 and $4.60 at 5-1 odds.
Mott's other victories were in the $500,000 Filly and Mare Turf with Quite a Bride at Santa Anita and the $500,000 Turf with War Monger at Florida's Gulfstream Park.
Gomez rode Quite a Bride, giving him two wins, along with jockey Edgar Prado, who won the $300,000 Sprint and the Turf at Gulfstream.
Florida breds won seven of the eight races and outpointed California 58-14. Winners received five points each, second place was worth three points and third was worth one point. Florida has won the bi-coastal event all six years.
Ginger Punch, winner of the Eclipse award for older female earlier in the week, overtook Peach Flambe entering the stretch to win the $500,000 Distaff by 6} lengths at Gulfstream.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Ginger Punch covered 1 1-8 miles in 1:49.14 for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.
Racing at Santa Anita was canceled Thursday and Friday because of rain and hail, but Saturday was dry, with snow on parts of the San Gabriel Mountains above the track.
The track's maintenance crew worked overnight to remove 2 inches of the wet top layer of Cushion Track and add some of the original synthetic material back on.
Jockey Mike Smith described the surface as firm and safe.
"The main thing is it is uniform and very even," he said. "The crew did an unbelievable job getting this track ready."
The forecast called for another storm to move in later Saturday and dump about 8 inches of rain in the hills outside Los Angeles. Track president Ron Charles said if that happened, it could force the cancellation of Sunday's races and jeopardize the start of repairs to the Cushion Track.
Santa Anita had already planned to close Monday and Thursday, in addition to its regular off days Tuesday and Wednesday, to mix a stabilizing binder into the synthetic surface that will allow rainwater to drain through the 7 inches of Cushion Track that lies atop a porous asphalt base.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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