By Jim Freer and Barry Unterbrink
Even though rain forced all ten of its scheduled-for-turf races off that surface, Gulfstream Park had an impressive two-day combined all-sources handle of more than $15 million last Saturday and Sunday.
Through Sunday, Gulfstream for seven racing dates has averaged just over $7.0 million in daily all-sources handle (total handle), according to a review of Equibase charts by HorseRacingFLA.
That is 2 percent ahead of daily average all-sources handle of slightly under $6.9 million for the first seven days of Gulfstream’s 2015-2016 championship meet.
On Saturday, Gulfstream had $9,441,934 in all-sources handle for eleven races. It was the Hallandale Beach track’s Juvenile Showcase day. All of the races were for two-year-olds.
And despite inclement weather, Gulfstream’s total handle was Saturday’s highest among U.S. thoroughbred tracks—again demonstrating its attractiveness in the simulcast/ADW market.
Following heavy rain on Saturday morning, all five scheduled-for-turf for turf races were moved to the dirt track that was listed as sloppy and was sealed.
Even with numerous scratches, there were 95 starters—an average of 8.6 per race.
On Sunday, Gulfstream had $6,000,368 in all-sources handle for ten races. After rain started early in the afternoon, Gulfstream shifted all five scheduled-for turf races to the dirt that was listed as sloppy and was sealed.
Following scratches there were 90 starters in ten races.
On Saturday, Aqueduct in Ozone Park, N.Y., was second among U.S. tracks with $7,980,166 in all-sources handle for nine races and Los Alamitos Race Course in Los Alamitos, Calif., was third with $5,184,741.
On a per-race basis on Saturday, Aqueduct averaged $887,000 and Gulfstream averaged $858,000 in handle.
It was a cloudy day with temperatures in the mid 30s at Aqueduct, which had just 61 starters in nine races. That is an average of just 6.8—almost two fewer than Gulfstream’s average for the day.
The trend of having the country’s largest fields should continue at Gulfstream again his winter, even on days with rain.
Gulfstream has access to 1,250 horses in its stables, 1,200 at its affiliate Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach, 430 at Calder Casino and several hundred at training centers such as Pam Beach Downs in Delray Beach and Payson Park in Indiantown.
Through seven days of the current meet, Gulfstream has averaged 9.9 starters per race. Through seven days of the 2015-2016 meet, that average was 9.8.
Foul weather has been a factor at both meets. Over last year’s first seven days Gulfstream had 35 races scheduled for turf and had to move 20 off that surface. So far this meet, there have been 34 races scheduled for turf and Gulfstream has moved ten of them to dirt.
Gulfstream’s championship meet handle always starts growing in January, when it begins running more graded stakes and has major programs such as the Sunshine Millions, this year on Jan. 21.
In its 2015-2016 championship meet, Gulfstream had its all-tine record of $9.5 million a day in average all-sources handle. The average number of starters per race was 9.1, down from Gulfstream’s track record of 9.5 in 2014-2015.