$1 Million Florida Derby (G1) Tops 8-Stakes Card April 2
Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) Purse Raised to $500,000
Seven Super Saturday Cards With 5 or More Stakes
$1.1 Million Claiming Crown Set for Opening Day Dec. 5
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park will present a stakes program worth a record $11. 61 million in purses during the 2015-2016 Championship Meet, highlighted by the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on April 2.
A record 73 stakes, including 37 graded races, will be offered during the 77th anniversary meet that is scheduled to get under way Dec. 5. Six new races have been added to the stakes program for the 2015-2016 meet, while another six races have received purse increases.
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 (G3) and $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Jan. 2, the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) and $150,000 Swale (G3) Jan. 30, the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) and $150,000 Palm Beach (G3) Feb. 27, and the $75,000 Spectacular Bid March 19.
Once again, 3-year-old fillies will also have a plethora of opportunities culminating with the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) on Florida Derby Day. Highlights leading up to the Oaks include the $200,000 Forward Gal (G2) and $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) Jan. 30, and the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) Feb. 27.
The purse for the historic Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2), scheduled for its 72nd running on March 5, has been increased to $500,000 from $350,000. The Feb. 6 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) has received a purse boost of $50,000 to $350,000, while the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) will be contested on April 2 for $250,000, up $50,000. Also receiving $50,000 boosts are the $200,000 Orchid (G2), $200,000 Appleton (G3), and $200,000 Pan American (G3), all set for April 2. The H. Allen Jerkens will be contested on Jan. 23 for $100,000, up $25,000).
"We're looking forward to what will be a memorable and exciting Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park," said PJ Campo, Gulfstream's General Manager and The Stronach Group's Vice President of Racing. "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. 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. Our 3-year-old program, highlighted by the $1 million Florida Derby and Gulfstream Park Oaks, continue to be one of the best in the world. Our racing program, coupled with great events including the Eclipse Awards and Fasig-Tipton March Sale, means Gulfstream will be the place to be this winter."
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 mares.
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).
The $1.1 million Claiming Crown will kick off the stakes schedule, which will conclude with the $2.4 million Florida Derby Day program that will offer eight stakes, including seven graded races. 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:
· 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 the $300,000 Honey Fox (G2), $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), $200,000 Appleton (G3), $200,000 Pan American (G3), $200,000 Orchid (G3), $150,000 Skip Away (G3) and Sir Shackleton.
· A pair of Super Saturday programs will be highlighted by important preps for the Florida Derby on Jan. 30 and Feb. 27. 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 (G2), $150,000 Swale (G3), $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) and $100,000 Kitten’s Joy. On Feb. 27, Florida Derby hopefuls will prep in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) on a stakes-laden card that will include the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2), $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3), $150,000 Palm Beach (G3), $150,000 Herecomesthebride (G3), $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3), $100,000 Sand Springs and $75,000 Texas Glitter.
· The $100,000 Mucho Macho Man and the $100,000 Hutcheson (G3) kick off the season for newly turned 3-year-olds Jan. 2 on a Super Saturday card that will also feature the $100,000 Old Hat (G3), $100,000 Dania Beach (G3) and $100,000 Ginger Brew.
· The $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1), the first major handicap of the racing season, will co-headline a Feb. 6 Super Saturday card with the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1), supported by the $150,000 Suwannee River (G3), $100,000 Fred Hooper (G3), $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint and $75,000 Ladies Turf Sprint.
· The Sunshine Millions will be renewed on Jan. 16 will offer six stakes, including the $250,000 Classic and the inaugural running of the $100,000 Sprint.
· The Claiming Crown, revitalized since being hosted by Gulfstream Park 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.