01/06/2017 4:00PM

Sunshine Millions purses slashed by $300,000

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The Sunshine Millions has been a favorite of fans and horsemen alike each January since its inception in 2003. But the popular series of races, which once again lead into the Eclipse Award ceremonies at Gulfstream Park later this month, will take a hit this winter with the announcement that purses have been cut from the $900,000 originally earmarked for the five races to only $600,000.

“Usually, the Sunshine Millions is part of a three-party agreement between the horsemen, the breeders, and Gulfstream, and we just couldn’t come up with an agreement [this year],” said P.J. Campo, vice president of racing and general manager of Gulfstream Park. “It’s the breeders’ money that’s not in there. It’s just something we could not work out but hopefully will get fixed somewhere down the road.”

The highlight of the program is the Sunshine Millions Classic, which has had its purse cut from $250,000 to $200,000. The other four events on the card are the Distaff, Turf, Filly and Mare Turf, and Sprint, all now worth $100,000 apiece.

“I don’t believe the purse cuts will impact the races too much,” said Campo. “I think the program is still good for the local guys who have the Florida-breds that participate here all year long. It’s the right thing to do to still run these races, regardless of whether it’s $600,000 or $900,000. It’s a staple on our stakes program and will still be a great day of racing while serving as a lead-in to the Pegasus the following weekend and the Holy Bull the Saturday after that.”

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