01/26/2008 12:00AM

Wide rally propels Go Between

Benoit & Associates
Go Between holds off Celtic Dreamin to win the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita by two lengths.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It took a rare dry day in Southern California on Saturday for trainer Bill Mott to start Go Between in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita.

It took a gutty ride from jockey Garrett Gomez to get Go Between to the winner's circle in the lucrative race for California-breds and Florida-breds.

Gomez brought Go Between five-wide into the stretch and held off a determined run from Celtic Dreamin to win the Classic by two lengths. The final time of 1:45.64 for 1 1/8 miles lowered the previous track record of 1:46.93 set by Tiago in the Goodwood Stakes last September.

The Classic was the third stakes win of the day for Mott, who won the $500,000 Filly and Mare Turf with Quite a Bride at Santa Anita and the $500,000 Turf with War Monger at Gulfstream Park.

The Santa Anita stakes winners nearly did not start. Mott worried that the recent wet weather would not suit Quite a Bride or Go Between.

"He likes a firm surface, whether it's turf or synthetic," Mott said of Go Between.

After track maintenance crews worked overnight Friday to remove two inches of wet material, Go Between had his needed surface.

In the Classic, Gomez kept Go Between off a quick early pace of 22.73 seconds and 45.10 set by Bilo. Go Between moved into ninth on the final turn and reached contention with a wide rally.

"He was traveling so well," Gomez said. "I was hoping they were going faster than it felt like. When I got him out from behind those horses, he did some running for me."

Mott was not discouraged by Go Between's wide trip, considering the quick pace.

Garrett "had him running," Mott said. "Nobody likes to be that wide. It was a fast pace. I figured they have to be coming back."

Celtic Dreamin, a California-bred, finished 6 1/2 lengths clear of the California-bred Seminole Native in the field of 12.

Owned and bred in Florida by Peter Vegso, Go Between, a 5-year-old horse by Point Given, has won 7 of 22 starts and $1,803,880.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch