The 2011 Gulfstream Park meeting has been highlighted by star appearances from Dialed In, the winner of the Holy Bull (G3) and Florida Derby (G1); Tackleberry, the Sunshine Millions Classic, Gulfstream Sprint (G3) and Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) victor; as well as Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer, Soldat in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Giant Oak in the Donn Handicap (G1).
Yet, the spectacular performance by the Gulfstream Park turf course should not be underestimated in its significant contribution to making the 2011 meeting a record-setting success.
With four racing days remaining in the meeting, the resilient state-of-the art turf course has hosted 316 races (through Sunday), eclipsing the record of 299 grass events run during the 2008 Gulfstream meeting.
“Fortunately, we’ve had some great weather, but at the beginning of the season, we had a strategy. The plan was to move the rail as often as possible to help the course,” said Tim Ritvo, Gulfstream Vice President, Racing, noting the versatility of the expanded turf course..
The Gulfstream Park turf has also served as a stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby for Brilliant Speed, who earned a berth in the Run for the Roses by capturing Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. The Tom Albertrani-trained 3-year-old had lost by a nose in the Dania Beach Stakes on Jan. 16 and by a neck in the Hallandale Beach on Feb. 6 over the Gulfstream turf.
Brilliant Speed, a son of Dynaformer, was one of eight horses in the 12-horse field that had raced on the turf at Gulfstream during the 2011 meeting, including the first seven finishers in the 1 1/8-mile race over Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface.