By Jim Freer and Barry Unterbrink
Tiz the Law was an impressive winner in the $750,000 Florida Derby (Grade 1)on Saturday and the bettors who generated record-level total handle, in the $50 million range, joined him as stars of Gulfstream Park’s annual biggest day.
A large but not immediately determinable share of Saturday’s betting was via advance deposit wagering (ADW) on Internet and phone accounts.
Gulfstream’s all-time record of total handle for a single day (other than Breeders’ Cup days) was $49,909,710 on March 31, 2018. That also was a Florida Derby day.
Gulfstream had fourteen races each day.
As of mid-afternoon today (Sunday), Gulfstream had not released the number for its total handle (all-sources handle) for Saturday.
HorseRacingFLA’s review of the Equibase chart for Saturday indicates that the total handle number came very close to or may have beaten the March 31,2018 number.
The recent ADW wagering on Gulfstream races has included an undetermined number of bettors who would have been betting on Aqueduct and other tracks that are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and/or on the cancelled NCAA basketball tournament and on games in the NBA which has suspended its season.
Gulfstream is ending its 2019-2020 championship meet today. Our review of Equibase data shows that Gulfstream will break its all-time record for daily average total handle at a race meet. The record of $10.56 million was set in the 2017-2018 championship meet.
The handle numbers for this year’s Florida Derby day and for the meet are particularly impressive because since March 13 (including Florida Derby day) Gulfstream has raced with no spectators and no on-track betting due to precautions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In the Florida Derby, the 7-5 favorite Tiz the Law (photo on home page)took the lead coming out of the final turn and pulled away in mid-stretch to beat 80-1 shot Shivaree by 4 1/4 lengths.
Ete Indien, the 5-2 second betting choice, finished third and 5-1 shot Gouverneur Morris finished fourth in the nine-horse field for the 1 1/8 mile dirt stakes for 3-year-olds.
Tiz the Law Wins Florida Derby Decisively; Meet Sets Track Record for Average Handle
Tiz the Law won in 1:50.00 on the track listed as fast. Manuel Franco rode him for trainer Barclay Tagg and owner Sackatoga Stable. It was his fourth win in five career starts. His wins include the 1 1/16 mile Holy Bull (Grade 3) at Gulfstream on Feb. 1.
The Florida Derby was a final round points qualifying race for the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1), which has been rescheduled from May 2 to Sept.5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Ky.
The first four finishers earned 100, 40, 20 and ten points respectively.
Through Saturday, Tiz the Law is first in Kentucky Derby points with 122. Ete Indian is third wth 74 points, Shivaree is third with 40 points and Gouverneur Morris is tied for 23rd place with 14 points.
It is likely that between 40 and 50 points will be the cutoff for gaining one of the Kentucky Derby’s eighteen starting spots reserved for point scoring horses in U.S. qualifying races.
Tiz the Law Wins Florid Derby Decisively; Meet Sets Record for Average Daily Handle
NOTE–This week we will have more information on the Florida Derby, the Kentucky Derby points race and Gulfstream handle.
–Photo on home page by Lauren King, Gulfstream Park