Updated on 09/17/2011 8:43PM

Star Over the Bay back in the winner's circle

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Star Over the Bay wins the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf for California-breds and Florida-breds.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Star Over the Bay is back.

The winner of the three major stakes in the summer and fall of 2004, Star Over the Bay returned from a three-month layoff on Saturday to win the richest race of his career, the $500,000 for California-breds and Florida-breds.

It was not an easy victory

Star Over the Bay ($11.80) was pressured through the final quarter-mile by A to the Z, the 2-1 favorite, and Union Place, a stakes winner at Gulfstream Park earlier this month.

But Star Over the Bay was a resilient front-runner. Ridden by Tyler Baze, Star Over the Bay set fractions of 22.77, 46.86 and 1:10.84, leading by as many as 2 1/2 lengths.

The lead dwindled to 1 1/2 lengths on the final turn. Just when it appeared Star Over the Bay would be overtaken, he maintained his lead.

Union Place was the first to challenge entering the stretch, but was quickly overtaken by A to the Z. The winner of the California Cup Mile last October, A to the Z drew within a neck of Star Over the Bay at the eighth pole, but never got closer.

Star Over the Bay won by a half-length over A to the Z, finishing in 1:48.40. Silver Tree rallied from eighth to finish third, missing by a length. Continental Red was fourth in the field of 12.

Star Over the Bay and Union Place are Florida-breds, while A to the Z and Continental Red are California-breds.

The Sunshine Millions Turf was Star Over the Bay's first start since he finished last of eight in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30. Trained by Mike Mitchell, Star Over the Bay, 7, was claimed last May for $80,000. He later won the Grade 2 Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park, Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, and Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Oak Tree.