New South Florida Landscape Benefits Horsemen, Handicappers
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park’s consolidation of all South Florida racing dates is already generating good news for horsemen and handicappers. In the absence of head-to-head competition with nearby Calder Race Course, Gulfstream Park will offer the fullest Thoroughbred fields of all major racetracks in North America this weekend.
A week after securing the right to offer unopposed racing dates throughout the year at both South Florida tracks, Gulfstream’s racing officials had a robust local Thoroughbred population available to them while producing an 11-race card with 126 entries for Saturday and a 10-race program with 122 entries for Sunday.
At a most competitive time of year when tracks are often forced to card short fields, Gulfstream Park’s entry box has been filling up as its racing schedule has been expanded to four days a week (Thursday through Sunday).
“Our hope has always been to create a stronger summer racing program in Florida,” said Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo. “Our field sizes have quickly grown over the last two weeks and are the largest in the country this weekend. Now that we are racing four days a week, we expect the quality of our racing to continue growing with our weekend stakes and upcoming Florida Sire Stakes series. We're optimistic that we can once again build a vibrant summer program in Florida.”
Saturday’s 11-race program includes two highly competitive 5 ½-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds – the $75,000 Birdonthewire and the $75,000 Cassidy for fillies. The Birdonthewire attracted 11 entries, including undefeated Dekabrist, who set a track record for 4 ½ furlongs in his debut (51.31 seconds) and came right back to win the Kodiak Island Stakes. The Cassidy, which drew 14 entries and one also eligible, is led by impressive first-out winners, Dogwood Trail and Naval Command.
Many of Saturday’s stakes entrants are eligible for the Florida Sire Stakes series, which will kick off on Aug. 9 at Gulfstream with the runnings of the $100,000 Dr. Fager and the $100,000 Desert Vixen (fillies). The series continues on Sept. 6 with the $250,000 Affirmed and the $250,000 Susan’s Girl (fillies) and on Oct. 4 with the $350,000 In Reality and the $350,000 My Dear Girl (fillies).