HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Three stakes races at Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet - the Holy Bull, Swale and Sabin - were elevated to Grade II status Friday for their 2014 renewals by the American Graded Stakes Committee (AGSC).
The Holy Bull Stakes is a 1 1/16-miles race for 3-year-olds on January 25 and the Swale Stakes will be contested by sophomores at seven-furlongs March 1. The Sabin Stakes, a 1 1/16-miles contest for older fillies and mares, will also be a Grade II event when it is run on February 15. All three were Grade III events in 2013. The Committee reviewed 713 unrestricted U.S. stakes races and released their finding on Friday, December 6.
"We're extremely pleased with the decision of the American Graded Stakes Committee to upgrade the Holy Bull, Swale and Sabin," said Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo. "All three races are deserving and all three have played host to some of the countries top Thoroughbreds. Like so many other races at Gulfstream, horses who have come out of these three races have accomplished extraordinary things throughout the rest of the year at tracks across North America."
Originally contested as the Preview Stakes, the Holy Bull first received graded status in 2005. Notable previous winners of the Florida Derby prep include Barbaro in 2006 and Go for Gin in 1994. Itsmyluckyday won the 2013 renewal and went on to run second in both the Florida Derby and the Preakness Stakes. It honors the Hall of Famer Holy Bull, whose 1994 Horse of the Year campaign included a victory in the Florida Derby.
The Swale Stakes, which was named in memory of the ill-fated 1984 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes hero, was inaugurated in 1985. Its honor roll numbers luminaries such as Easy Goer, Seeking the Gold, Housebuster, Favorite Trick and Lost in the Fog. In 2012, Trinniberg launched his Eclipse Award-winning sprint campaign in the Swale. Clearly Now won last year’s renewal.
The Sabin Stakes honors the millionaire filly that won 18 of 25 career starts for legendary trainer Woody Stephens. It was won last year by champion Royal Delta, who had also been second in the 2012 renewal won by Awesome Maria. One Caroline, Swap Fliparoo, Roar Emotion and Rare Blend are other previous winners.
GULFSTREAM PARK is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets.The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954.457.6451.