04/25/2010 11:00PM

Gulfstream business rebounds


Despite getting off to an extremely poor start, Gulfstream Park concluded its 2010 season on Saturday showing an increase in all-sources handle over the corresponding meet one year earlier.

After being down 13 percent in all-sources handle and 19 percent in ontrack handle after the opening month of the meet, Gulfstream Park rallied to close the 79-day session up 4.2 per cent in all-sources handle and down just less than 1 percent ontrack compared with the 2009 session.

Among the main reasons for the comeback was a record-setting Florida Derby Day, on which more than $21 million was bet in total handle, the largest such handle since the new facility opened in 2006 and an increase of 14 percent from Florida Derby Day in 2009. The Florida Derby was moved forward one week, to March 20, and run six weeks in advance of the Kentucky Derby this season, as opposed to five weeks out the previous four years.

Ice Box, expected to be among the field for Saturday's Kentucky Derby, posted a thrilling nose decision over Pleasant Prince in the 2010 Florida Derby.

"We faced a series of challenges this year, but through the support of our horsemen and fans around the country, we turned it around," said Ken Dunn, president and general manager of Gulfstream Park.

Todd Pletcher captured his seventh consecutive training title, Paco Lopez won his first ever Gulfstream riding crown and Frank Carl Calabrese was the leading owner in 2010.