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HORSE RACING: MILLIONS WILL BE RUN SATURDAY.

Byline: Staff and Wire Services

ARCADIA -- Lava Man, Bordonaro and Sweetnorthernsaint, all trying to bounce back from defeats, are among the crowds of horses entered in the fifth annual Sunshine Millions races Saturday at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park.

The Sunshine Millions offers a total of $3.6 million in purses for eight races, restricted to California- and Florida-bred horses, split between the Magna Entertainment-owned tracks in Arcadia and Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Not counting the ``also-eligible'' horses in the six oversubscribed races, up to 88 horses could compete. The vast majority of them are Florida-breds, which is usual in the event that ostensibly is a battle for regional bragging rights.

Sweetnorthernsaint heads the 14 entrants (12 of whom will run) in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic, scheduled to cap the card at 2:45 p.m. PDT at Gulfstream. Since finishing seventh behind Barbaro as the lukewarm favorite in the Kentucky Derby, the 4-year-old Florida-bred had won twice in a row before finishing third to Chatain at 6-5 in the Hall's Hope Handicap at Gulfstream last time out.

Traveling from California to run in the Classic are Del Mar Derby winner Get Funky (Jose Valdivia Jr. riding), 2005 California Cup Classic winner McCann's Mojave (Frank Alvarado), 2006 Cal Cup Classic winner Texcess (Garrett Gomez) and San Pasqual Handicap runner-up Armenian Summer (John Velazquez). Get Funky is a Florida-bred.

Lava Man, whose victory in the 2006 Classic opened the Cal-bred's sensational season, will stay at Santa Anita this time to run in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf. Lava Man (Corey Nakatani) heads 13 entrants (12 can run) in his first start since finishing seventh to Invasor in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Trainer Doug O'Neill has indicated Lava Man might race more on turf than he did in '06, when he won the Khaled Stakes and the Grade I Whittingham on the Hollywood Park grass.

``In an ideal world, he'd have the same campaign as last year,'' O'Neill said. ``The only zigzag might be a priority for grass races, but that said, we still hold the dream of having him win the Santa Anita Handicap, the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Pacific Classic, as he did last year.''

Bordonaro (Richard Migliore), among nine horses entered in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita, races for the first time since the Cal-bred's championship chances were dashed with a fourth-place finish behind Thor's Echo in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

The racing week at Santa Anita begins today with a double carryover of $723,744 in the pick-six.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 24, 2007
Words:427
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