11/12/2004 1:00AM

Gulfstream building chute

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Gulfstream Park has begun construction on a new chute to its rebuilt 1 1/8-mile main track, which will allow the track to card one-turn one-mile races when the 2005 meeting begins on Jan. 3.

Gulfstream's main track was enlarged after the end of the 2004 season from one mile to 1 1/8 miles. The configuration would have allowed one-turn races to be run up to only 7 1/2 furlongs. The new chute, approximately 150 yards in length, has alleviated that problem. Two-turn races will be run at distances beginning at 1 1/8 miles.

The addition of the chute has already affected one race. The $100,000 Aventura Stakes for 3-year-olds, usually run at 1 1/16 miles, had originally been carded at 7 1/2 furlongs for next year, but will now be run at a mile.