Arindel homebred Octane appears to be the likely favorite for Saturday’s $75,000 Sunshine Classic, a mile-and-one-sixteenth test for seven older Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park.

The Sunshine Classic will feature a $20,000 FTBOA Top 3 bonus for Florida Sire Stakes-eligible runners with Octane, Lure Him In, Khozeiress, The Skipper Too and Granted Success all eligible for the extra money presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Trained by Juan Alvarado, Octane returns to face fellow Florida-breds after finishing fifth in his last race, the Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday won by O’Connor (Chi) at Gulfstream on Dec. 30. Two starts back, the 5-year-old son of Arindel stallion Brethren won the $150,000 FTBOA Gil Campbell Memorial Handicap against Florida-breds by nearly two lengths going a mile at Gulfstream on Oct. 21, a race in which he defeated Sunshine Classic rivals The Skipper Too and Slim Slow Slider, who were fourth and fifth respectively.

The FTBOA Gil Campbell is one of six victories, three of which came in stakes, at Gulfstream for Octane, who won the $200,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Affirmed and the $400,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes In Reality at Gulfstream as a 2-year-old. Octane has only two career starts outside of Gulfstream including a victory in the 2022 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Marion County at Tampa Bay Downs, giving him seven wins, three seconds and one third in 16 career starts with earnings of $675,655.

Octane is out of Star Recruit, by Aldebaran and has drawn post one for the Sunshine Classic. Trainer Juan Alvarado has again given the riding assignment to Edgard Zayas, who has been aboard for the gelding’s last two starts.

Set to start from the immediate right of Octane in post two is Lure Him In for trainer Herman Wilensky and owner Double B Racing Stables.

Ninth in the Harlan’s Holiday in his last start, Lure Him In is another with a stellar record at Gulfstream having won four of seven starts there including an upper level, $62,500 optional claiming going a mile on Nov. 25.

This year Lure Him In switches to the Classic after winning the Sunshine Turf in 2022, which was run on the synthetic course, and finishing fourth behind winner Roaring Forties in the Sunshine Turf last year.

The 7-year-old Lure Him In has seven career wins from 40 starts with eight seconds and seven thirds and earnings of $413,088. He is by Journeyman Stud stallion Khozan out of Alluring Lady, by Indygo Shine and was bred by Stonehedge LLC.

Lure Him In will be ridden by Edwin Gonzalez.

Rounding out the field for the Sunshine Classic are Cashier Check with jockey Irad Otiz Jr., Khozeiress and rider Leonel Reyes, Slim Slow Slider with Miguel Vasquez aboard, The Skipper Too and jockey Emisael Jaramillo and Granted Success will be ridden by Paco Lopez.

Return to the Jan. 18 issue of Wire to Wire