01/22/2007 1:00AM

Tough draw for Sweetnorthernsaint


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The complexion of the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic changed in the short time it took Gulfstream Park's racing secretary, Dave Bailey, to pull post position 12 out of the box for 9-5 morning-line favorite Sweetnorthernsaint when entries for the eight Sunshine Millions races were drawn on Sunday. The Sunshine Millions, which is restricted to Florida- and California-breds, will be run at both Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park on Saturday.

The Classic will be decided at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park, and it will have a short run to the first turn. None of the six horses at Gulfstream who broke from post 12 going 1 1/8 miles in 2006 and 2007 finished better than third. In fact, only one horse from 29 starters has won a race from beyond post 9 during that same period.

"Can we do that again?" Michael Trombetta, who trains Sweetnorthernsaint, said immediately after the draw. "Naturally we'd like to be a little further inside. It's not the ideal situation. but you've just got to roll with the punches. Unfortunately, the task of overcoming the post will fall back on the rider. It sure makes it tougher on him."

Sweetnorthernsaint, who worked an easy half-mile in 49 seconds at Gulfstream on Sunday, will again be ridden by Ramon Dominguez.

While Sweetnorthernsaint still figures to be favored in the Classic, the lone Grade 1 winner in the field is Silver Wagon, who will break from post 5 under Edgar Prado. Other key contenders include California invader Texcess and Papi Chullo.

All four Sunshine Million races to be run at Gulfstream drew full fields. Rich in Spirit and Bayou's Lassie are the early choices for the $500,000 Filly and Mare Turf. Grade 1 winner Swap Fliparoo and defending champ Hot Storm head a group of 14 in the $300,000 Filly and Mare Sprint. Fleet 3-year-olds Leonardo and Texas Voyager, the morning-line favorites, drew post positions 13 and 14 for the $250,000 Dash.

Grade 1 winners Lava Man and Take D' Tour were both pre-entered for the Classic, but, as expected, were not in the race at entry time and will instead run at Santa Anita. Lava Man will run in the $500,000 Turf and Take D' Tour in the Distaff.

Lava Man, like Sweetnorthern-saint, fared poorly at the draw and will break from post 11 in a field of 12 entered for the 1 1/8-mile Turf. His chief competition, Florida invaders Go Between, Revved Up, and Icy Atlantic, all drew favorably near the inside.

Take D' Tour will break from post 4 as the heavy favorite in the Distaff, much to the delight of her trainer, Dave Fawkes.

"Four is her favorite post," said Fawkes. "She won both the Phipps and Shuvee from post 4."

The $300,000 Sprint drew an outstanding field of nine, led by Bordonaro, Proud Tower Too, Areyoutalkintome, and Nightmare Affair.