11/07/2002 12:00AM

Millions added to slate


The creation of the Sunshine Millions, a race series featuring California-breds against Florida-breds, is the most significant change to the stakes schedule at the 2002-2003 Santa Anita winter meeting. The meeting runs from Dec. 26 to April 20.

The eight-race Sunshine Millions features four races at both Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita on Jan. 25. Santa Anita will host the Distaff, Turf, Sprint, and Oaks, worth a combined $1.75 million.

To accommodate the Sunshine Millions, the California-bred stakes program underwent significant changes. Two sprint stakes previously run in April were canceled - the Valiant Pete Handicap and Zany Tactics Stakes. Four other races - the two divisions of the California Breeders Champion Stakes, the Pro or Con Handicap, and the Crystal Water Handicap - will be run with purses reduced by $25,000.

In addition, the purse for the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 4, the first major stakes for older horses on dirt, has been cut by $50,000, to $150,000.

Four races will offer higher purses. The Grade 2 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf on March 1 was boosted by $100,000, to $400,000. The Grade 1 San Carlos Handicap over seven furlongs on March 2 was increased by $50,000 to $200,000.

Two turf stakes for 3-year-olds in April have had their purses doubled. The La Puente Stakes and the Providencia Stakes for fillies are no longer run as $75,000 restricted stakes and will have each have a purse of $150,000.