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2012 California Sunshine Millions Day

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Home Sweet Aspen wins the 2012 Santa Monica Stakes
Home Sweet Aspen horse racing

Home Sweet Aspen (inside) wins the 2012 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita Park over Sugarinthemorning.

© Kelley Carlson
January 21, 2012

The orginal Sunshine Millions format ended this year, as California horsemen opted out of the program, causing the entire program to be moved to Gulfstream Park and restricted to Florida-breds only. As a result, Santa Anita revamped its stakes schedule and offered up promotions on the same day on the opposite coast, such as a beach chair giveaway, a handicapping contest, and a food truck festival in the infield, attracting 30,514 fans. Conditions were ideal on Saturday at the historic Arcadia oval, with clear skies and temperatures in the upper 70's, with a fast main track and firm turf for the 2 graded stakes and 3 stakes for California-breds.

The feature event was the $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes (G1) for older fillies and mares sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Rumor, winner of the CERF Stakes at Del Mar and the Kalookan Queen Handicap at Santa Anita, was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 7 over 5-2 second choice Teddy's Promise, winner of the La Brea Stakes (G1) last out. Sugarinthemorning, second in the La Brea, was sent off as the 9-2 third choice on the tote.

Rumor and 11-2 fourth choice Home Sweet Aspen battled down the backstretch through quick fractions of 22.70 and 45.42, while stalked by Sugarinthemorning third. Entering the stretch, Home Sweet Aspen gained a short lead as Rumor tired. Sugarinthemorning put in a rally of her own but Home Sweet Aspen held her off to win by a neck in a time of 1:21.41. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to late-running She's Cheeky third.

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