01/26/2006 12:00AM

Several angles tab Buzzards Bay


NEW YORK - The Sunshine Millions, the rotating series of eight stakes events for California- and Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita worth a total of $3.6 million in purse money, dominates Saturday's stakes action. Santa Anita hosts the headliner, the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic.

Sunshine Millions Classic

The big question every bettor interested in this race must address is, what do you do with Lava Man? If the Lava Man who won the Hollywood Gold Cup and Californian and was a fine third in the Pacific Classic shows up, every other horse in this race would be running for second money. But Lava Man's two outings since that series of races were dismal. He has not started since an unsuccessful trip to Tokyo last November for the Japan Cup Dirt. And between Proud Tower Too, Trickey Trevor, McCann's Mojave, and perhaps even Texcess, there is a lot of serious early speed in this race, which might compromise a horse like Lava Man who has a with-the-pace running style going long.

I like Buzzards Bay. Buzzards Bay certainly likes nine furlongs at Santa Anita, as those were the conditions at which he upset last year's Santa Anita Derby. He has been on a personal horses-to-watch list ever since he made a big wide move around the far turn in the Kentucky Derby before winding up fifth, and his third in the Discovery on the Breeders' Cup undercard in his only start last fall was good considering that the winner, Magna Graduate, came back to win the Clark Handicap. Buzzards Bay has worked very well since his comeback race on opening day of the Santa Anita meet, figures to make a big move forward second start off the layoff, will love going from turf to dirt, and has a closing style that fits the pace scenario.

Sunshine Millions Sprint

Bordonaro has my respect. The vast improvement he displayed late last year, culminating in a strong victory in the Vernon Underwood, is why he is ranked the No. 4 sprinter in the nation in the Watchmaker Watch. But Bordonaro will be racing outside of Southern California for the first time Saturday, and he is running into the red-hot Mister Fotis, my pick, on his home court.

As he did this time last year, Mister Fotis has suddenly regained excellent form, punctuated by a romp in a good field in Calder's Kenny Noe Handicap most recently. Last winter, Mister Fotis brought two big Calder wins into Gulfstream and produced a strong second in the Deputy Minister Handicap. He was beaten less than two lengths in that one by Medallist, who was a high-class performer when he behaved, and he finished well ahead of the accomplished Kela.

As one might expect, there is also a lot of speed in this race, and Mister Fotis is probably at his best as a pace player. But the way he finished like a wild horse when second in the Jack Dudley Sprint two starts back says Mister Fotis can also be effective closing.

Sunshine Millions Turf

Buzzards Bay is coming out of the first division of the Sir Beaufort Stakes on opening day at Santa Anita. Eastern Sand, who I'm going with in this race, is coming out of the second and faster division of the Sir Beaufort.

Eastern Sand was beaten only a head in his end of the Sir Beaufort, continuing his series of solid performances dating back to last August. But the big reason why he is especially appealing in this spot is that it looks like Eastern Sand will finally be able to drop off the early pace and make one big run, which is something I get the sense he has been crying to do. He will be able to do that thanks to the presence of multiple speed horses, including his uncoupled barnmate, Captain Squire.


Gulfstream: Sunshine Millions Sprint
4 and up, California or Florida breds, 6 furlongs

Approximate post: Eastern-3:20 p.m., Central-2:20 p.m., Mountain-1:20 p.m., Pacific-12:20 p.m.; Hallandale Beach, Fl., forecast: Breezy, 74¦

2Thor's Echo95101955-1
3Nightmare Affair9310110712-1
4All Hail Stormy70838650-1
5Halos Sailing Sain94898515-1
7Mister Fotis113100945-1
9Santana Strings96837610-1
10Valid Video85989412-1
12Red Warrior92809130-1

Odds by Art Gropper

Gulfstream: Sunshine Millions Turf
4 and up, California or Florida breds, 1 1/8 miles, turf

Approximate post: E-5:20 p.m., C-4:20 p.m., M-3:20 p.m., P-2:20 p.m.; Hallandale Beach, Fl., forecast: Breezy, 74¦

1Miesque's Approval90788720-1
2Stormy Roman96958420-1
3Gin and Sin94999620-1
4Silver Tree104102995-2
5Eastern Sand9895985-1
6Dream On Dream On92953020-1
7Willow O Wispn/a99939-2
8Night Dash83827550-1
9Captain Squire106102984-1
10We All Love Aleyna99941038-1
11Touched by Madness90529020-1
12Icy Atlantic9788736-1
Also eligible:
14Be My Buddy87907820-1

Odds by Art Gropper

Santa Anita: Sunshine Millions Classic
4 and up, California or Florida breds, 1 1/8 miles

Approximate post: E-5:45 p.m., C-4:45 p.m., M-3:45 p.m., P-2:45 p.m.; Arcadia, Ca., forecast: Partly cloudy, 65¦

2Lava Mann/a431122-1
3B. B. Best68838230-1
5Wild Buddy9210010320-1
6Whos Crying Now83999115-1
7Desert Boom8810210112-1
8Super Strut91939112-1
9Proud Tower Too1051019210-1
10Buzzards Bay80100917-2
11Trickey Trevor951031088-1
12McCann's Mojave86104956-1
Also eligible:
13Calkins Road87969230-1
14Always Noble789510130-1

Odds by Michael Hammersly