02/01/2008 12:00AM

Cal-breds disappoint in coastal showcase


ARCADIA, Calif. - Well that was ugly.

No matter the scoring mechanism used, the Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita on Jan. 26 was a lopsided affair, with Florida-breds clearly dominating California-breds in the eight races.

Of the $3.6 million in purses available, Florida-breds earned $2,785,000, while California-breds earned $815,000. Florida-breds won seven races, including all four at Gulfstream Park. Bob Black Jack was the lone California-bred winner, in the $250,000 Dash at Santa Anita.

At Gulfstream Park, Florida-breds earned $1,372,500 against $177,500 for California-breds. The margin was less glaring at Santa Anita - Florida-breds $1,412,500, California-breds $637,500.

The success of the Florida-breds produced the most lopsided result in the six-year history of the series. In 2003 and 2004, Florida-breds won six races. California-breds won five races in 2006; in 2007, each statebred program claimed four wins.

One excuse for the dismal showing for California-breds this year was the absence of several notable runners.

The Classic did not include Lava Man, the statebred Horse of the Year in 2005 and 2006. He is turned out for an expected return in the late spring.

There was only one California-bred in the $300,000 Sprint at Gulfstream Park - High Standards, who finished 10th. A strong team of California-breds did not start - 2007 Grade 1 winners Greg's Gold and Idiot Proof are being pointed for stakes in coming weeks, and Bordonaro, the multiple stakes winner, is being pointed for a spring campaign. They may not have beaten the outstanding Florida-bred Benny the Bull, but their presence would have made for a more interesting race.

The California-bred "team" could have used the participation of the Grade 1 winner Georgie Boy in the Dash, but trainer Kathy Walsh scratched the promising 3-year-old when she saw the track conditions at Santa Anita in the buildup to the program.

Santa Anita was unable to race on Jan. 24-25 because the synthetic main track failed to drain after a series of storms. Walsh is pointing Georgie Boy, the winner of the Del Mar Futurity last September, to the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita next Sunday.

The best result for California-breds was the $1 million Classic, when Celtic Dreamin and Seminole Native finished second and third behind Go Between. Both Celtic Dreamin and Seminole Native are candidates for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.

Lady Gamer retired with injury

Lady Gamer, winner of the Playa del Rey Stakes at Hollywood Park in December, has been retired after suffering a tendon injury in late January, trainer John Sadler said.

Owned by breeders Clark and Janine Hansen, the 5-year-old mare finishes her career with 5 wins in 12 starts and earnings of $292,115. She made her final start in the Playa del Rey Stakes and was entered for the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Jan. 26 when the injury was detected. Lady Gamer was scratched from that race.

By Game Plan, Lady Gamer had her best season in 2007, winning 2 of 5 starts and $175,375. She won the Valkyr Stakes for statebred females at Hollywood Park last summer and was later third in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar during the summer and second in the Grade 3 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap and California Cup Distaff on turf at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

Sadler said that no breeding plans have been finalized for Lady Gamer.

* There are 23 California-breds among the 191 horses that will be offered at the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training in Pomona, Calif., on March 12, including the sale topper from the California yearling sale at Barretts last October.

A Friends Lake colt that sold for $150,000 last October will be offered as Hip No. 44 in March.