By Jim Freer
This year’s new ten-race FHBPA-Gulfstream Park Spring and Summer Stakes Series will conclude on Saturday Spt. 23 with the $100,000 Bear’s Den Stakes.
The Bear’s Den is 7 ½ furlongs on turf for Florid-bred 3-year-olds.
It is a counterpart to last Saturday’s $100,000 Miss Gracie Stakes. That race was 7 ½ furlongs on turf for Florida-bred 3-year-old fillies,
Katina won the Miss Gracie by a nose over Surprise Wedding, after they battled head-to-head for the lead through the entire stretch. Gran Cherry rallied from seventh place after a half-mile and finished third, a half-length behind Surprise Wedding, in the eight-horse field.
Leonel Reyes rode Katina, who was clocked in 1:3! 23 on the course listed as firm.
Later this week, we will have previews and coverage of the Bear’s Den and an analysis of Katinka’s victory in the Miss Gracie.
The series is sponsored by the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and by Gulfstream. Each party contributed $50,000 to the purse for each of the ten races.
The FHBPA’s purpose is to provide trainers and owners based year-round in South Florida with more chances than in previous years to run their 3-year-olds and their older horses for six figure purses—on their home track.
Several trainers have said that the new series provides an alternative to sending horses to run in summer stakes at tracks in northern states.’
Six of the races, including the Miss Gracie and the Bear’s Den, were restricted to Florida breeds.
The four other stakes were Florida Preferred. They were open to horses bred in any state.
For each of those races, the FHBPA made up to $25,000 in bonus money available only to Florida-breeds.
Those rewards were $17,500, $5,000 and $2,500 for first, second and third place finishes respectively.