Gulfstream’s Championship Meet Gets Underway Monday
2023 Gulfstream Park Calendar Giveaway on Opening Day
Maiden, Allowance Purses Receive Sizeable Purse Increases
Tropical Park Derby, Oaks Kickoff $13.6M Stakes Schedule
G1 Pegasus World Cup, G1 Florida Derby Top 60 Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 2022-2023 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park will get underway Monday, the first of 71 days of World Class Racing that will be highlighted by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1), and $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) on the three most prestigious racing days during the elite winter meet.
Sizeable purse increases for open maiden special weight races and open optional claiming allowance races have been put into effect for the Championship Meet. Open maiden special weight events will be contested for purses of $84,000 (including $14,000 from FTHA-FOA) – an increase of $24,000 over last season. Open optional claiming allowances will carry purses ranging from $86,000 to $88,000 (including $14,000 from FTHA-FOA) – an increase of $25,000).
Opening Day will be celebrated with a 2023 Gulfstream Park calendar giveaway. The popular annual calendars featuring exquisite photos of memorable races from last season will be available while supplies last between Noon and 3 p.m.
Live racing will be offered five days a week Wednesday through Sunday with a 12:10 p.m. post time. Monday’s Opening Day 10-race program is the only Monday card scheduled.
Monday’s Opening Day co-headliners, the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby and the $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks, will kick off a stakes schedule featuring a total of 60 stakes, including 35 graded events, worth $13.6 million in purses. Monday’s stakes for 3-year-olds will be among 31 stakes races scheduled for Gulfstream’s new turf course.
The Pegasus World Cup Invitational, a 1 1/8-mile event for 4-year-olds and up, will be renewed on a program with six graded stakes on Saturday, January 28. The Pegasus, won last year by Life Is Good over defending champion and 2021 Horse of the Year Knicks Go, will be supported by the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up on turf, and the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Invitational (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf race for older fillies and mares.
The Curlin Florida Derby, a tradition-rich 1 1/8-mile Triple Crown prep for 3-year-olds, will be renewed on an April 1 program with 10 stakes, including six graded stakes and featuring the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
The Florida Derby will conclude Gulfstream’s Road to the Triple Crown, which will kick off with the $150,000 Mucho Macho Man (mile) January 1, followed by the $250,000 Holy Bull [(G3), 1 1/16 miles on February 4], and the $400,000 Fountain of Youth [(G2), 1 1/16 miles on March 4].
The Fountain of Youth will be one of eight graded stakes on a program with nine stakes, including the $200,000 Davona Dale, a mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the $200,000 WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile (G2), a mile stakes for older horses, the $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2), a 1 3/8-mile turf stakes for older horses,
Jockey Luis Saez, who topped the 2021-2022 standings with 122 wins, will be back for a title defense against the likes of three-time Championship Meet titlist Irad Ortiz Jr. and five-time Championship Meet hero Javier Castellano among so many other abundantly talented stars. Ortiz led all riders with $5 million in purses-won.
Saffie Joseph Jr., who dethroned perennial training champ Todd Pletcher to claim last year’s training title with 58 trips to the winner’s circle, will defend his first Championship Meet title. His most high-profile victory came with White Abarrio in the Florida Derby. Hall of Famer and 18-time titlist Pletcher, who saddled Life Is Good for his Pegasus win, led all trainers last season with more than $5 million in purses-won
The 20-cent Rainbow 6, a popular multi-race wager that has produced life-changing jackpot payoffs as high as $6.6 million, again will continue to anchor a betting menu that also offers the popular Early and Late Pick 5 wagers. A $1 Pick 5 wager with a 15-percent takeout with a sequence of races at Gulfstream Park and sister track Santa Anita will be inaugurated Jan. 1.