01/30/2014 6:06PM

Gulfstream Park's 12 most memorable races: A look back

Jim Raftery/Turfotos/Thoroughbred Times Collection
Swaps won the 1956 Broward Handicap as the 2-5 favorite, running one mile and 70 yards in a world-record 1:39 3/5.

1948 Gulfstream Park Handicap
Jan. 15, 1948
$25,000, 1 1/4 miles, 4-year-olds and up

A tiny-coal black mare named Rampart leads every step of the way with 108 pounds in the saddle and manages to hold off the closing rush of Calumet Stable’s mighty Armed, under 130, by the shortest of noses. Rampart, who pays a whopping $53.70 for her victory, becomes the first of just two distaff winners of the big race.

1956 Broward Handicap
April 14, 1956
$25,000, 1 mile and 70 yards, 4-year-olds and up

Under 130 pounds and a soft hand-ride by Willie Shoemaker, Swaps makes his 2-5 odds look like an overlay as he cruises to victory over seven Broward rivals. The previous year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Swaps stops the timer in a world-record-shattering 1:39 3/5 – after a two-month layoff.

1957 Florida Derby
March 30, 1957
$100,000, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds

Calumet Stable’s Gen. Duke speeds past heavily favored Bold Ruler in the stretch to score a memorable
1 1/2-length victory in the sixth Florida Derby, equaling Swaps’s world record of 1:46 4/5 for 1 1/8 miles. He immediately becomes the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, but a foot injury suffered in Florida will deny him a shot at the Run for the Roses.

1963 Gulfstream Park Handicap
March 15, 1963
$100,000, 1 1/4 miles, 4-year-olds and up

In a rare venture outside his Northeast home base, the great Kelso packs 130 pounds to a galloping 3 1/4-length victory, spread-eagling a six-horse field while conceding rivals from 14 to 22 pounds. The six-year-old gelding scores his 25th victory on a fast but deep track, for a $2.40 payoff.

1979 Florida Derby
March 6, 1979
$200,000, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds

After a trouble-plagued effort from start to finish, Spectacular Bid wins by 4 1/2 lengths at 1-20 odds, in a race with win-wagering only. Enraged trainer Bud Delp, who thought the colt should have won by 25, confronts 19-year-old jock Ron Franklin in the winner’s circle and lambastes him as an “idiot” for a ride in which Bid was stopped and pinched back repeatedly.

:: Gulfstream Park turns 75 – Special Section

1989 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Nov. 4, 1989
$3 million, 1 1/4 miles, 3-year-olds and up

Two future Racing Hall of Famers renew a season-long feud in spectacular fashion, with Sunday Silence laying a diminishing neck defeat on Easy Goer. Photos from that day of the nearly black colt along the rail battling back with everything he had to hold off the closing challenge of the flying chestnut still give chills.

1990 Hallandale Handicap
Jan. 20, 1990
$50,000, 7 furlongs, 4-year-olds and up

Beau Genius – third choice in a field of six – wins by a scant nose in what would normally be a rather run-of-the-mill early-season stakes event. But this one was special, as it turns out to be the final win in the long, storied career of legendary reinsman Bill Shoemaker – victory number 8,833.

1992 Breeders’ Cup Mile
Oct. 31, 1992
$1 million, one mile, turf, 3-year-olds and up

Future Hall of Famer Lure leads from flag-fall to finish, winning by three lengths under Mike Smith and establishing a course record of 1:32.80. Those beaten include champions from the United States, England, and France, plus an Irish classic winner. 

1999 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
Nov. 6, 1999
$1 million, 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-old fillies

Padua Stable’s Cash Run stuns the field with a nearly wire-to-wire romp en route to a $67 payoff. Trailing her home, in order, are eventual champions Chilukki and Surfside, as well as future Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Spain. This day Cash Run becomes one of the first high-profile horses to race wearing a nasal strip.

1999 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
Nov. 6, 1999
$1 million, 1 3/8 miles, turf, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up

Soaring Softly accelerates four wide on the far turn to dominate this inaugural distaff event, defeating a procession of top foreign-bred and -raced grass specialists from Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, and France. The late John W. Galbreath, who planned much of the filly’s extended pedigree, must have been raising a toast in victory somewhere.

2003 Florida Derby
March 15, 2003
$1 million, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds

Juddmonte Farms’ Empire Maker mocks a short field in the 52nd running of this great classic springboard. Second choice at 2-1, he overhauls front-running favorite Trust N Luck in the stretch and blasts off to a 9 3/4-length triumph, a record-smashing winner’s margin. He later denies Funny Cide a Triple Crown sweep in taking the Belmont Stakes.

2006 Florida Derby
April 1, 2006
$1 million, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds

After bobbling at the start from an outside post, Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s undefeated Barbaro recovers and streaks to his fifth consecutive victory. Next time out, the brilliant colt becomes the first horse in 50 years to win the Kentucky Derby with five weeks off prior to the classic.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The 89 Classic wins this in a romp. If you put all the top classic horses of the Breeders Cup era in a mythical Classic for the ages, I think I would make Sunday Silence and Easy Goer the top 2 choices. Cigar is for me the best horse since John Henry, but in a one race scenario I would take Sunday Silence over him. I also fully respect Alysheba and Skip Away as legit great horses, but I don't know if they had the talent of the 89 stars. And Ghostzapper, who many consider the most gifted horse of the new century, just didn't do enough at classic distances to convince me he could beat all these great horses at 10 furlongs.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
If the Easy Goer and Sunday Silence Classic didn't feel like ALI vs FRAZIER you don't understand or appreciate Racing. That's enough to give fans those goose bumps and heevvveee jeeebbbeee' ss
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sunday Silence, I believe, was the best 10 furlong horse of the last 30 years, and Easy Goer was just a neck inferior.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Also, nothing on dirt should have been posted from the '99 Breeder's Cup. The track was an utter joke that day, total speed favoring. Cash Run normally needed a horse van to get two turns. And let's not forget about the flukey BC Classic, when the totally gutless Cat Thief got so brave on the front end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No. The Artax-Kona Gold throw down was epic. One could make a decent argument that Artax and Kona Gold were the two best sprinters of the last 20 years, save maybe Midnight Lute. The race got a 124 Beyer. But yes, the other dirt races were largely forgettable.
Perl More than 1 year ago
I suppose it's an ok list. I would have given Sir Bear a nod for one of his stakes wins at the age of 8 or 9 in the late 90s. That horse was all heart. And Vic Stauffer had a couple of memorable calls ("here comes the old guy!).
jimf552 More than 1 year ago
Unbridled Song winning the Florida Derby was one of the most dominating effortless performances I have seen.
mark oleary More than 1 year ago
My favorite race at Gulfstream Park was a non descript 5 horse allowance race run at 6 furlongs , and I was awed by the scintillating performance by a 3 year old colt named Mr. Prospector. My memory is a little sketchy here, but he won by 8 or more lengths in an outrageous 1:08 (or maybe even 1:07.4), under a stranglehold, and I vividly remember the great Walter Blum, upon dismounting in the winner's circle, telling trainer W.R.(Jimmy) Croll, " What if I had let him run?". I had goose bumps for the rest of the day. If anyone remembers that race, please give me the correct time and victory margin.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
It did me just reading about it . I know how it feels with special horses on live days there when they do something special stays with you forever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite GP race to watch (unless the result of 1989 BC Classic ever changes) was Unbridled making up 20 lengths on champion Housebuster in 7f race. I think it was 1991 Olympic Handicap.
Becky Johnston More than 1 year ago
Breathtaking. I thought it was the GP Sprint Championship.
Becky Johnston More than 1 year ago
Deputy Minister was the race.
Timothy Tullio More than 1 year ago
Was there for that one and at 19 did not know what I was watching. It was Fla Derby day as we'll. Fly So Free
jttf More than 1 year ago
i was very impressed with jolypha's effort in the 1992 breeders cup classic won by a.p.indy. she was a three year old filly from europe running on the dirt for the first time. she had to wait on traffic in the second turn and finished well for a third place.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Jolypha is the only female besides Zenyatta to place in the BC Classic. And think of all the great females there have been in the BC era.
Ron Solberg More than 1 year ago
lots more that could be added..