Gulfstream Sets 2015-2016 Championship Meet Schedule, with Florida Derby on April 2. 2106
Tuesday, Sept. 8 — Gulfstream Park has announced the stakes schedule for its 2015-2016 championship meet that will begin on Dec. 5.
Gulfstream, in Hallandale Beach, Fla., will have a record 73 stakes races with an all-time Gulfstream stakes purse record of $11.61 million. The schedule will include 37 graded stakes.
Gulfstream has added six stakes races and has raised the purses on six other stakes.
The highlight will be the $1 million Florida Derby (Grade 1) on April 2. It will be the 65th running of the Florida Derby, an annual major prep for the Kentucky Derby.
A list of Gulfstream’s championship meet stakes may be found on the track’s Website.
The 65th running of the Florida Derby, whose starters have gone on to win a remarkable 57 Triple Crown events and has produced 22 Kentucky Derby winners, will culminate a 3-year-old stakes schedule which includes the $100,000 Hutcheson (Grade 3) and $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Jan. 2, the $350,000 Holy Bull (Grade 2) and $150,000 Swale (Grade 3) Jan. 30, the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) and $150,000 Palm Beach (Grade 3) Feb. 27, and the $75,000 Spectacular Bid March 19.
Once again, 3-year-old fillies will have a rich stakes schedule culminating with the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (Grade 2) on Florida Derby Day April 2.
Highlights leading up to the Oaks include the $200,000 Forward Gal (Grade 2) and $100,000 Sweetest Chant (Grade 3) on Jan. 30, and the $200,000 Davona Dale (Grade 2) on Feb. 27.
Gulfstream will give horsemen ample opportunities on its turf course for 3-year-olds, older horses and fillies and mares. Beginning on Jan. 9 there will be six graded stakes on the turf for 4-year-olds and up and five graded stakes on the grass for fillies and
Added to the record stakes schedule are the $110,000 Claiming Crown Distaff Dash (Dec. 5), $100,000 Sunshine Millions Turf Sprint (Jan. 16), $75,000 Melody of Colors (Feb. 20), $100,000 Sand Springs (Feb. 27), $75,000 Captiva Island (March 12), and $75,000 Cutler Bay (March 26).
“We are looking forward to what will be a memorable and exciting Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park,” said PJ Campo, Gulfstream’s general manager and vice president of racing for The Stronach Group, Gulfstream’s parent company.
“The increase in purse money and the number of stakes to our program shows the commitment of The Stronach Group to Thoroughbred racing in Florida and throughout North America,” Campo said. “Our stakes schedule, with the help of horsemen throughout the Americas, continues to grow as does the number of fans and guests to our facility.”
There will be seven “Super Saturday” cards with a minimum of five stakes during the meeting that plays host to Hall of Fame trainers and jockeys and the finest Thoroughbreds in the world.
Highlights of the 2015-2016 Championship Meet stakes schedule include:
*Dec. 5 — The Claiming Crown, revitalized since being hosted by Gulfstream the past two years, will offer nine races, including the $200,000 Jewel and the newly added $110,000 Distaff Dash, on Opening Day of the championship meet.
* Jan. 2 — The $100,000 Mucho Macho Man and the $100,000 Hutcheson (G3) will kick off the season for newly turned 3-year-olds on a Super Saturday card that will also feature the $100,000 Old Hat (Grade 3), $100,000 Dania Beach (Grade 3) and $100,000 Ginger Brew.
* Jan. 16 –The Sunshine Millions will be renewed and will offer six stakes, including the $250,000 Classic and the inaugural running of the $100,000 Turf Sprint. The day’s stakes are restricted to Florida-breds and horses bred in several other states.
* Jan. 30 — The $350,000 Holy Bull (G2), a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds, will top the Jan. 30 card that will also feature the $200,000 Forward Gal (Grade 2), $150,000 Swale (Grade 3), $100,000 Sweetest Chant (Grade 3) and $100,000 Kitten’s Joy.
*Feb. 6 –The $500,000 Donn Handicap (Grade 1) is 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 4-year-olds and up. It is the first major handicap of the racing season. The co-feature will be the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (Grade 1). Those two races and the Florida Derby are Gulfstream’s only Grade 1 stakes.
Other stakes on Feb. 6:
–$150,000 Suwannee River (Grade 3)
— $100,000 Fred Hooper (Grade 3)
— $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint
— $75,000 Ladies Turf Sprint.
* Feb. 27– Florida Derby hopefuls will prep in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) at 1 1/16 miles. The card also will include:
–$200,000 Davona Dale (Grade 2)
–$150,000 Canadian Turf (Grade 3)
— $150,000 Palm Beach (Grade 3)
— $150,000 Herecomesthebride (Grade 3)
— $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (Grade 3)
— $100,000 Sand Springs
— $75,000 Texas Glitter.
* April 2 –The $1 million Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park’s signature event that has produced the winners of 57 Triple Crown races since being inaugurated in 1952, will be supported by these races:
— $300,000 Honey Fox (Grade 2)
— $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (Grade 2)
— $200,000 Appleton (Grade 3)
— $200,000 Pan American (Grade 3)
— $200,000 Orchid (Grade 3)
— $150,000 Skip Away (Grade 3)
— Sir Shackleton
Gulfstream will run its summer meet through this Oct. 3. It will hold its Gulfstream Park West meet at Calder Casino & Race Course from Oct. 7 through Nov. 29.