The $75,000 Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes will run as Race 11 on the Jan. 16 card at Gulfstream Park.
The event for 4-year-olds and up will cover 1 1/16 miles on turf and include names like Second Mate, Max K.O., Shamrocket, and Proven Strategies among the field of nine.
Here is a look at the top runners set for the Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes.
Betting Preview: Second Mate, Max K.O.
One of the top names coming into this race is Eccentric Club Racing Stable’s Second Mate. The 8-year-old gelding from Mizzen Mast is trained by Michael Maker.
He has a career record of 7-7-8 from 39 starts and earnings of $373,765.
Last time out, he took second in the Nov. 21 Millions Turf Preview Stakes at Gulfstream Park West. He also took seventh in an Oct. 28 allowance optional claiming race at the track. In last year’s edition of the Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes, he finished fifth.
Second Mate will break from post 1 under rider Tyler Gaffalione.
He will be up against Michael Dubb’s Max K.O. The 5-year-old son of J. P’s Gusto is also trained by Michael Maker.
He is 6-3-1 from 23 career starts with earnings of $220,718.
To close out his 2020 campaign, he finished all the way back in ninth in a Dec. 13 claiming race at Gulfstream Park. He also took eighth in the Nov. 21 Millions Turf Preview Stakes and first in an Oct. 29 allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park West. On Aug. 16, he finished fifth in the Richard Henry Lee Stakes at Gulfstream.
Max K.O. will break from post 7 under rider Julien R. Leparoux.
Betting Preview: Shamrocket, Proven Strategies
Also coming into this one is Donegal Racing’s Shamrocket. The 4-year-old Tonalist colt is trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher.
He has a career record of 2-3-4 from 10 starts and earnings of $148,980.
His most recent performance was a Dec. 23 allowance optional claiming victory at Gulfstream Park, which followed a third-place effort in the Sept. 10 Gun Runner Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs. Both of those races resulted in a Speed Figure of 96. He also took third in an Aug. 9 allowance race at Saratoga, so he has experience running on a variety of tracks.
Shamrocket will break from post 4 under rider Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Proven Strategies is another impressive runner. The 4-year-old Sky Mesa colt is owned by Leonard Green, Jonathan Green, and Empire Racing Club.
Trained by Mark Casse, he is 4-3-1 from 13 career starts with earnings of $230,726.
He hasn’t raced since Oct. 3, at which point he took the Toronto Cup Stakes at Woodbine, registering a 101 Speed Figure. His other performances include a Sept. 7 allowance win at Saratoga and a runner-up effort in the June 20 Pennine Ridge Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
Proven Strategies will break from post 2 under Jose Ortiz.
The rest of the field (post, jockey) is set to include: Monforte (Post 3, J. Velazquez); Over the Channel (Post 5, E. Jaramillo); Galleon Mast (Post 6, P. Lopez); Clear Destination (Post 8, E. J. Zayas); and Venezuelan Hug (Post 9, L. Saez).
Free Betting Pick
Second Mate is a good choice coming into this one, especially since he finished second in the Millions Turf Preview. One of his big challengers, Max. K.O., has performed badly in his last two outings with ninth- and eighth-place finishes. Second Mate will be looking to improve on his fifth-place run in last year’s edition.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Second Mate
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