09/19/2002 11:00PM

Group effort to fund new series


NEW YORK - Magna Entertainment and horsemen and breeders in California and Florida have pledged to put up $3.6 million next year for a one-day series of eight races restricted to California- and Florida-bred horses, Magna announced Friday.

The series, scheduled for Jan. 25, is being called "Sunshine Millions." Four of the eight races will be run at Santa Anita Park, the other four at Gulfstream. Magna owns both tracks.

The series is being funded through $600,000 in contributions from Santa Anita, Gulfstream, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association, and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

The FHBPA plans to cut overnight stakes races from next year's schedule to account for its contribution to the purse fund, FHBPA officials said. The breeders groups are diverting money from their state-funded award programs.