01/19/2006 12:00AM

Sunshine Millions gets 140 pre-entries


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Pre-entries for Magna Entertainment Corp.'s fourth annual Sunshine Millions card were released Thursday, with 140 horses listed for the eight events to be run at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita on Jan. 28.

The Sunshine Millions pits Florida-breds against California-breds and is the brainchild of Magna's chairman of the board, Frank Stronach. The $1 million Sunshine Classic, to be run this year at Santa Anita, again highlights the Sunshine Millions program, which offers $3.6 million in purses. The 2006 Sunshine Millions also will mark the end of jockey Jerry Bailey's Hall of Fame career.

Along with the Classic, Santa Anita will also host the $500,000 Filly and Mare Turf, the $300,000 Filly and Mare Sprint, and the $250,000 Dash. The $500,000 Turf and $500,000 Distaff will be the co-features on the Gulfstream portion of the card, which also includes the $300,000 Sprint and $250,000 Oaks.

All eight Sunshine Millions races will be shown on a two-hour NBC broadcast beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Last year's Sunshine Millions card was highlighted by Lost in the Fog's victory in the Dash and Musique Toujours's $142.20 payoff following his upset victory in the Classic.

This year's Classic drew 26 pre-entries, topped by Grade 1 winners Proud Tower Too, Lava Man, and Buzzards Bay. Among the other notable names on the list are Grade 2 winners McCann's Mojave and B. B. Best.

If any of the Sunshine Millions races oversubscribes, the top six ranked Florida-breds and top six ranked California-breds will draw into the field. Graded winners have first preference, with non-graded winners ranked by total earnings in 2005.

Other Grade 1 winners pre-entered in this year's Sunshine Millions are Leave Me Alone in the Filly and Mare Sprint; Captain Squire, who is cross-entered in the Turf and Sprint; and Dream of Summer in the Distaff.

The Turf was the most popular of the eight races, attracting 27 nominations, including the Florida-bred Silver Tree, who could wind up the final mount of Bailey's career. The Dash and the Distaff, on the other hand, lured just 11 and 10 nominees respectively, with only two California-breds, including Dream of Summer, on the list for the Distaff.