Gulfstream Park Racetrack
Located in Hallandale, Florida, Gulfstream is the premier meet in the US during the winter. They also run a meet for several months in the spring, summer, and fall, but this meet consists of horses who run all year in Florida.
Many big-name stables ship south to Gulfstreams warmer weather for the winter, not only for the quality dirt racing but for the turf racing, which usually features large and competitive fields.
Since Florida is 2nd only to Kentucky for breeding, you will see many 2-year old races run for Florida breds throughout the year and older horses.
Gulfstream Park Racing Season
Known for one of the country’s most extended racing meets with regular race-days held from December – October, Gulfstream is the place to be during the winter and spring months. Consistent world-class thoroughbred racing is staged throughout the year, with events typically taking place Thursday-Sunday.
Trainers Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher are always on top of the standings, with the Ortiz brothers, Irad and Jose, vying for the leading rider. It’s a very deep trainer and jockey colony in the winter, which makes the winter meeting highly competitive.
Gulfstream Park Stake Races
Many graded stakes are run at Gulfstream. The two biggest are the Pegasus Day run in January, and the Grade 1 Pegasus, which is one of the richest races run in America. The most viewed day for Gulfstream is Florida Derby Day, which runs from late March or early April.
The Florida Derby is a ‘key’ prep race for straight 3-year old’s who are aiming for the Kentucky Derby run the first Saturday in May. Many horses who have won or run well in the Florida Derby have a history of making their presence felt the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.
Gulfstream Park Track History
Gulfstream Park first began hosting thoroughbred racing in 1939, where it was granted the opportunity to host a four-day event. This initial foray into thoroughbred horse racing proved extremely popular, and further dates followed, with a 20-day meeting attracting 18,000 fans in just five years.
In the beginning, Gulfstream exclusively hosted dirt racing with turf action being added in 1959.
It has been the home to several historic moments in the horse racing sport. For example, when Swaps set a world record for a mile and 70 yards back in 1955. It didn’t stop there; in the 1989 Breeders Cup World Championships, it played witness to the historic rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer.
The track has undergone many much-needed renovations over the years and is one of the few tracks to have prioritized technological developments. The world’s largest Tote board was erected in 1961, while the clubhouse received a major upgrade a few months later.
In 1982, the Grandstand received a complete makeover, with a new domed dining terrace being installed as part of the ongoing improvements. Its next renovation wasn’t until 2004, with a $130 million complete refit. This investment into the track allowed Gulfstream Park to play host to the Sunshine Millions series going forward.
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