In the Turk's opinion, this weekend's Sunshine Millions promotion, an early season event pitting Santa Anita and California Thoroughbreds against Gulf Stream and Floria Thoroughbreds is a great marketing idea to build buzz for these tracks in the period leading up to each meets marque matches.
To those who aren't familiar, the Sunshine Millions features eight races, with full fields of Florida and California bred entries and guaranteed purses totaling $3.6 million. There's a point system, and bragging rights, and yada yada yada, but the important thing is these are two great cards of mostly 4 YO's with a 3 YO sprint race thrown in, with some big purse money at stake.
The races worth following are:
At The Great Race Place
Sunshine Millions Turf
Four-Year-Olds and Up - Bred in California or Florida - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
Sunshine Millions Distaff(got that right!)
Fillies and Mares, Four Years Old and Up - Bred in California or Florida - 1 1/16 Miles
Sunshine Millions Sprint
Four-Year-Olds & Up - Bred in California or Florida - 6 Furlongs
Sunshine Millions Oaks
For Three Years Old - 6 Furlongs
And at Gulfstream Park:
Sunshine Millions Classic
Four-Year-Olds and Up - Bred in California or Florida - 1 1/8 Miles
Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf
Fillies and Mares, Four Years Old and Up - Bred in California or Florida - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint
Fillies and Mares, Four Years Old and Up - Bred in California or Florida - 6 Furlongs
Sunshine Millions Dash
Three Years Old - Bred in California or Florida - 6 Furlongs
The Turk hasn't picked which 3 or 4 races he will handicap. It most likely will come down to the races that have his favorites running, and Turk favorites include Georgie Boy, In Summation, Leah's Secret, Macho Again, Dry Martini, Delightful Kiss, Zee Zee, Dearest Trickski and Ten Churros .
And while it's not the Turk's cup of bourbon, Twin Spires made an announcement yesterday that they are putting a full court press on coverage of the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas this Friday and Saturday. From the Twin Spires press release:
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (January 20, 2009) – TwinSpires.com, the official advance deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN), will be helping horseplayers get an inside look at the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) from Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas by providing online video coverage of the event throughout the day both Friday, January 23rd and Saturday, January 24th.
TwinSpires’ Jill Byrne will be on site breaking down all of the NHC action with video updates, interviews and player reactions.
“When we learned the major racing television networks were not going to be on site covering the event, we found a way to step in and help out those horseplayers who wanted to get closer to the action from the Red Rock,” said Jeremy Clemons VP of Marketing for TwinSpires.com. ‘We are constantly looking for unique and innovative ways to engage the horseplayer community.”
Go to www.twinspires.com for more details
In our society, we are quick to criticize. I commend Twin Spires for bringing a byzantine event like a handicapping contest to a computer screen near you. Good luck fellow handicappers. The Turk is a slow, painfully slow, handicapper, who tips his hand to these contest folks, but my process just doesn't work like that.