07/24/2012 10:37AM

Gulfstream Park to offer richest stakes schedule in track history this winter

Tom Keyser
Gulfstream's stakes schedule will be topped by the $1 million Florida Derby on March 30.

Gulfstream Park will offer the biggest and richest stakes schedule in the track’s storied history during the 2012-2013 Sseason which opens on Dec. 1 and continues through April 8, 2013, track officials announced on Tuesday.

Gulfstream will offer 61 stakes, 33 of which are graded, valued at more than $10.1 million. The schedule will be highlighted by the $1 million, Grade 1 Florida Derby, a key Kentucky Derby prep, to be run on March 30 as the main event on a stellar program that will include five other graded stakes.

The meeting will kick off with a bang. Opening day will feature the 14th running of the Claiming Crown to be held at Gulfstream for the first time this year, offering seven stakes worth $850,000.

As usual, 3-year-olds will be the focus of the Gulfstream meet. The series begins on New Year’s Day with the inaugural Sophomore Soiree, which will feature four stakes races exclusively for newly turned 3-year-olds that includes the second running of the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby and the Grade 3 Old Hat for 3-year-old fillies.

Other important events for 3-year-olds during the session are the Grade 3, $400,000 Holy Bull at 1 1/16 mile on Jan. 26 and the Grade 2, $400,000 Fountain of Youth, also at a mile and one-sixteenth, on Feb. 23.

The $1.3 million Florida Sunshine Millions, historically run on the final weekend of January, has been advanced to Jan. 17 and serves as a prelude to the Eclipse Award ceremonies, which will be held at Gulfstream Park later that evening.

“We believe the stakes schedule for the 2012-13 meeting is the most varied and valuable we have ever offered,” said Gulfstream president and general manager Timothy Ritvo. “Because of the commitment to Thoroughbred racing by our Chairman, Mr. Frank Stronach, we have been able to work with our industry partners to bring the prestigious Eclipse Awards to Gulfstream and we are also extremely excited about bringing the Claiming Crown to south Florida for the first time this year.

“We have made some slight adjustments to our stakes schedule, but we believe our horsemen, who have been incredible partners of ours, will find the changes beneficial and rewarding.”

Mike Mike More than 1 year ago
I usually try to forget about Gulfstream. TVG doesn't carry it and I don't get HRTV in my area. I know I can watch the races on the web, but it doesn't do anything for me.
victor More than 1 year ago
For many years Gulfstream was one of my favorite tracks that I visited. Was it really nessasary to gut the place of all it's charm to make a fancy Racino ?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Terrible layout for the saddle stalls and walking ring - - - Not an easy joint to move around but you can still have a great day at the races and at the windows at Gulfstream.
Mike More than 1 year ago
The racing is good, but it's the worst paddock and saddling enclosure in the country. Especially compared to the one they had previously. At least they have full fields and a full betting menu. But I sure do miss that old paddock!
Jack Twee More than 1 year ago
Mr.Ritvo,when are you going to lower the takeout?When is the horseplayer going to benefit from slots?
Mike More than 1 year ago
Your question is legit, but should be aimed at Mr. Stronach and not Mr. Ritvo. Ritvo is just the messenger, he doesn't create the message. That's up to Frank and the folks in Tallahassee!
Paul Patane More than 1 year ago
Gulfstream is always a great meet. I love it, great turf racing and good value.
Greg Scherr More than 1 year ago
This is exactly why as a So Cal resident I play Gulfstream as my main track when they're running, big fields, wonderful payoffs, and honest trainers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honest trainers? You are kidding right? Do you remember the Mark Schuman and Gill horse whose leg was cut off after breaking down? Or how about Todd Pletcher? Won at 40% at Gulfstream. Goes winless at Churchill Downs. Wins at 17% (approx) at Belmont, 1 for 12 through three days at Saratoga but was 7 for his first 15 at Delaware? Even if you think Pletcher is completely honest, these numbers are a bit baffling. Winless at twin spires....please....something is up with him. Gulfstream is great meet but one trainer usually makes it a tiny bit less exciting to play than if he wasn't there.
Steve More than 1 year ago
Please elaborate on your comment towards Todd P. "something is up with him" Such as?