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|Location||Hallandale Beach, Florida|
|Owned by||The Stronach Group|
|Notable races|| Sunshine Millions Day |
Florida Derby (G1)
Pegasus World Cup (G1)
Gulfstream Park is a racetrack and county-approved casino in Hallandale Beach, Florida. During its annual meet, spanning December through October, it’s among the most important venues for horse racing in the United States.
The current dirt course is one and one-eighth miles in circumference, with a one-mile backstretch chute. The turf course is one mile in circumference; depending on the race day, the portable rail can be moved to the inside or outside of the course, thereby changing the circumference. The track can seat 16,627 people. The track originally had a one-mile dirt oval and a seven-furlong turf oval prior to a 2005 renovation.
Gulfstream will install a new Tapeta track during the Summer of 2021—replacing the outer portion of its turf course—which will give the track three unique racing surfaces.
Gulfstream Park opened on February 1, 1939, conducting a four-day meeting.Its initial meeting attracted a crowd of 18,000. In 1944, the track was reopened by James Donn Sr. for a 20-day meeting in December.
In 1952, a clubhouse was erected and an addition was put on the grandstand. Gulfstream Park introduced turf racing in 1959. The clubhouse was enlarged in 1961 and the then-world's largest totalizator board was installed in the infield. In 1972, the track was awarded "middle dates" for a 40-day January through April meet. In 1982, the grandstand was again renovated and in 1984 a clubhouse renovation was completed. In 1986, the track added its Gulfdome, a domed dining terrace.
Palm Meadows, Gulfstream's state-of-the-art training facility in Palm Beach County, was opened on Nov. 29, 2002.
In 2004, Gulfstream Park began a $130 million renovation of the grandstand and clubhouse. Slot machines also were approved for the track. The renovation, first effective for the 2006 spring meeting, was criticized by racegoers and commentators, who felt that the new racino laid too much emphasis on the casino area, to the detriment of the racetrack's atmosphere.
In September 2013 the park announced another expansion, with construction begun in March 2014. A highlight would be a 110-ft, fire-breathing bronze statue of Pegasus killing a dragon, at the time the world's largest equine and European dragon statues. Pegasus would also be the second largest statue in the US after the Statue of Liberty).The statues were completed that year in December. The site also includes rock features, fountains and a stage.
The Gulfstream Park Handicap was first run in 1946. The year 1952 saw the first running of the Florida Derby, the state's first stakes with a $100,000 purse. The 1955 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Swaps set a then world-record of 1:39 3/5 for a mile and 70 yards while carrying 130 pounds in the Broward Handicap. Gen. Duke equaled the world record of 1:46 4/5 in defeating Bold Ruler in the Florida Derby in 1956. In 1980, Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero Jr. set a meeting record with 60 wins.
In 1989, Gulfstream Park hosted its first Breeders Cup World Championships, highlighted by the Classic match-up between Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Sunday Silence and Belmont Stakes winner Easy Goer.Gulfstream would host the Breeders' Cup again in 1992.
Jockey Julie Krone took the Jockey's Title in 1993 with 98 wins. In 1994, Holy Bull won the Florida Derby while, in 1995, Cigar won the Donn Handicap and Gulfstream Park Handicap on his way to a perfect season. Meanwhile, in 1995, Florida Derby winner Thunder Gulch would go on to win the Kentucky Derby (Monarchos would repeat Thunder Gulch's feat in 2001). Gulfstream again would host the Breeders' Cup in 1999.
Hal's Hope, winner of the 2000 Florida Derby, would return in 2002 to win the Gulfstream Park Handicap. The 2002 season introduced the first running of the popular Sunshine Millions, pitting Florida-breds against California-breds for purses totaling $3.6 million. In 2004, trainer Todd Pletcher started an unprecedented run of nine consecutive training titles. In 2006, Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey rode his last race aboard Silver Tree in the Sunshine Millions, and the great Barbaro would win the Florida Derby before making headlines with his victory in the Kentucky Derby.
In April, 2012, Javier Castellano, who collected his first Gulfstream title by riding a record 112 wins, scored his 3,000th career success aboard Virtuously on Feb. 24 and Todd Pletcher, who claimed an unprecedented ninth consecutive training title at Gulfstream with 72 trips to the winner's circle, recorded his 3,000 career victory when he saddled Spring Hill Farm for a winning performance on Feb. 11.
As of March 2021, Gulfstream Park has hosted all of the races in the series known as the Sunshine Millions, consisting of Sunshine Millions Classic, Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes, Sunshine Millions Distaff, Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf, and the Sunshine Millions Sprint.[ citation needed ]
In 1961, James Donn Jr. succeeded his father as president of Gulfstream Park. In 1990, the track was purchased by Bertram R. Firestone. In 1994, a half interest in the track was sold to Nigashi Nihon. [ citation needed ] In 1999, Gulfstream Park was purchased by Magna Entertainment Corporation, for $95 million. In 2010, the ownership of the track was taken over by Magna parent MI Developments Inc. (MID). Since July 3, 2011, the track has been owned by The Stronach Group.
In June, 2011, Tim Ritvo was named President and General Manager of Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino. He was a prominent jockey and racing official at Suffolk Downs in the 1980s before establishing himself in the 1990s as a leading Florida trainer. Ritvo also had served as Vice President and Director of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association.In 2012, Stronach Group named Ritvo Chief Operating Officer of its Racing Division.
On March 2, 2020 Ritvo stepped down as COO of Stronach Group-operated tracks, which include the troubled Santa Anita racetrack in California. He left to “pursue other opportunities.”
Gulfstream Park is home to the following graded stakes: (listed by grade and then year inaugurated)
Grade III: (listed by grade and then year inaugurated)
Non-graded: (partial list, listed Alphabetically)
(FTBOA) Florida Sire stakes:
On Opening Day, December 1, 2012, of Gulfstream Park's 2012-2013 meet, the track is hosting the 14th running of racing's Claiming Crown.The Claiming Crown has become the most important event for horse racing's claiming runners, and Gulfstream Park is raising the purses for each individual race in honor of this.
Gulfstream Park in recent years has been a concert venue, with performances taking place on the grounds outside the grandstand. Reserved seats to the concerts are sold in advance, and others paying normal track admission may watch the concert in standing room. Various singers and groups popular in earlier times perform at Gulfstream Park on their tours. The track was also host to the Miami Pop Festival from December 28–30, 1968, featuring over thirty performing bands and artists, including the Grateful Dead.
Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse racing facility in the northeastern United States, located in Elmont, New York, just east of the New York City limits. It was opened on May 4, 1905.
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Cigar, was an American Thoroughbred racehorse. Originally campaigned on turf tracks he showed useful but unremarkable form, but he emerged as an outstanding performer when switched to racing on dirt in 1995. In 1996, he became the first American racehorse racing against top-class competition to win 16 consecutive races since Triple Crown winner Citation did so between 1948 and 1950. Cigar retired as the leading money earner in Thoroughbred racing history and was later inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. After his retirement from racing he stood as a breeding stallion but proved to be infertile and was quickly retired from stud duties. He nevertheless enjoyed a long retirement at Kentucky Horse Park before dying at the age of 24.
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Pimlico Race Course is a thoroughbred horse racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland, most famous for hosting the Preakness Stakes. Its name is derived from the 1660s when English settlers named the area where the facility currently stands in honor of Olde Ben Pimlico's Tavern in London. The racetrack is nicknamed "Old Hilltop" after a small rise in the infield that became a favorite gathering place for thoroughbred trainers and race enthusiasts. It is currently owned by the Stronach Group.
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Mucho Macho Man is a retired American Thoroughbred racehorse notable as the winner of the 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic. He was foaled in Florida and named after the Village People song "Macho Man". His breeders were Carole and John Rio of Florida, who owned his dam. His foalhood nickname was "Lazarus" because he appeared lifeless at birth, but spontaneously revived. He grew to be a very large horse, standing over 17 hands high. Throughout most of his racing career, Mucho Macho Man was primarily owned by Dean and Patti Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing of Suwanee, Georgia. They purchased a majority interest in him after his first race in 2010, and in 2012 became his sole owners. In February 2014, Frank Stronach purchased an undisclosed share in the horse on behalf of his Adena Springs Farms, owner of Mucho Macho Man's sire, Macho Uno.
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The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes is an American Thoroughbred horse race whose first running was on January 28, 2017 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. It is run over the dirt at the distance of 1+1⁄8 miles and is open to horses four years old and up. The Grade I rating was assumed from the Donn Handicap.
The Saudi Cup is an international horse race held at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the richest horse race ever held. The first edition of the race was held on February 29, 2020. It was won by an American horse, Maximum Security, ridden by Luis Saez.
Gulfstream Park will switch to a three-day-a-week racing schedule, Friday through Sunday, for a period of three months, beginning the week of June 7, when construction starts to install a Tapeta racing surface on the outside third of the turf course.
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