HALLENDALE BEACH, Fla., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The $3.6 million Sunshine Millions, an eight-race series that matches horses bred in Florida and California, will be run Saturday at California's Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park.
It will be the first time the series has taken place.
Four races will be held at each track and the centerpiece will be the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream, which drew a field of 13 horses. Continental Red is considered the best of the California-bred horses in the 1 1/8-mile race.
Continental Red, the 4-1 second choice, raced mainly on turf last year and won the San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita. He also was second in the San Marcos Handicap, the San Luis Obispo Handicap, and the Sunset Handicap in California.
Last fall, trainer Ian Jory switched Continental Red to the main track, where he was second in the first race. The horse has not raced since Dec. 7, when he won the NTRA Great State Challenge race at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston.
"He's done nothing wrong since I switched him to the dirt," Jory said. "How many times do you have a chance to go for $1 million?"
Patrick Valenzuela has been aboard Continental Red for the last two starts and will ride again on Saturday.
The 7-2 morning-line favorite is Florida-bred Best of the Rest, an 8-year-old son of Skip Trail, who had won 13 of 26 career starts, including the Unbridled Handicap at Gulfstream last spring.
The field also includes Booklet, who won the Grade I Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream last winter, and another Florida-bred horse, The Judge Sez, who beat Continental Red in the Grade III Fred Hooper Jr. Handicap.
The main race at Santa Anita is the $750,000 Distaff, where California-bred Cee's Elegance is the 5-2 favorite.
Forbidden Apple, who finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Mile, is the solid 7-5 favorite on the turf at Santa Anita. Trainer Christophe Clement said it will be the last race for the Florida-bred 8-year-old.