Ginger Punch, winner of a 2007 Eclipse Award, made her move on the far turn around Peach Flambe to open up a dominating lead in the stretch and an eventual 6 3/4 length victory in her first race of the 2008 season. The 1 1/8 mile race went in 1:49.14, with Ginger Punch returning $2.60 for the win.
The victory was fitting considering Ginger Punch’s owner, Frank Stronach, is the mastermind behind the Sunshine Millions day, which pits Florida and California breds against one another in an 8 race series with races at both Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita. Thankfully the weather provided enough of a respite for the major races of the day to be run and the avoidance of a much feared cancellation of the Santa Anita card. The Daily Racing Form is reporting that trainer Bobby Frankel has indicated Ginger Punch will be next pointed towards the Grade 1 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita on March 9.
In the main event of the day, the $1 Million Classic at Santa Anita, Go Between scored the upset by running down and holding off Celtic Dreamin’ in the stretch to score for trainer Bill Mott. Bilo set the pace early on, but as the field turned for home a wall of horse came charging to the front, and Go Between would not be denied. It sounds like the track announced got a little confused between Electrify and Go Between in the video clip below.
In other racing action Saturday, highly regarded Nashoba’s Key was defeated by Quite a Bride in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf. Nashoba’s Key was never able to get going against Quite a Bride who sat a comfortable trip at the front of the pack the whole way around the track.
“She was too far back off a slow pace,” trainer Carla Gaines said. “She got to the winner after the wire. I would have preferred a win.”
Placid Lake, who was a horse I used in my pre-race handicapping, finished 3rd after being listed at 20/1 in the morning line.
Benny the Bull took the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park for $500,000, finishing in 1:08.48. The Daily Racing Form is reporting that Benny will be next targeting the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct.
Bob Black Jack set a word record sprinting 6 furlongs in 1:06.53 in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash.