02/27/2002 1:00AM

Florida breeders push series


The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association has sent contracts to Gulfstream Park and the state horsemen's association asking them to agree to a plan for a $5 million, eight-race series pitting Florida-breds against California-breds, an official said Wednesday.

The series, called Sunshine Millions when it was announced in January, would take place in 2003 at Santa Anita and Gulfstream, both owned by Magna Entertainment. Magna's chairman, Frank Stronach, is a director of the FTBOA and one of the state's top breeders.

The breeders' organization voted last month to provide $1.25 million to the series, said Dick Hancock, the executive director of the group. The association is asking Gulfstream and Florida horsemen to provide another $1.25 million each year for four years, but says the two groups could keep any money generated by wagering or entry fees on the races.

"To me, it's a win-win situation," Hancock said Wednesday.

Kent Stirling, the executive director of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said that his organization has received conflicting reports on how the series would be run from the FTBOA and Magna. As a result, the Florida HBPA has not asked its board to consider the series yet.

"I don't know if we have anything to gain from this," Stirling said.