Gulfstream’s Royal Palm Meet Gets Underway Thursday
Stakes Schedule Includes 42 Events Worth $3.945 Million
Pair of Royal Ascot Qualifiers Slated for May 13
G2 Princess Rooney Moved to Sept. 30
G3 Smile Sprint Featured on July 1 Program
Florida Sire Stakes Schedule Spread Out
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Following last weekend’s thrilling conclusion to the 2022-2023 Championship Meet, courtesy of Forte’s late-rallying triumph in the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa, live Thoroughbred racing at Gulfstream Park will resume Thursday on the first day of the Royal Palm Meet.
The Royal Palm Meet will get underway with live racing conducted Thursday through Sunday with a first-race post time set for 12:40 p.m.
The Royal Palm Meet will offer horsemen and fans an extensive and innovative stakes schedule that will include 42 stakes worth $3.945 million through Dec. 2.
The $100,000 Royal Palm Juvenile and the $100,000 Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies will be contested on May 13 with an international flair. The winners of each of the five-furlong turf stakes will earn an automatic berth into one of six stakes for 2-year-olds at Royal Ascot in June, as well as a $25,000 equine travel stipend, in addition to the winner’s share of the purse.
The $200,000 Princess Rooney (G2), which has been customarily featured on the Summit of Speed program in early July, has been repositioned on the schedule for the upcoming meet. The seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, a traditional ‘Win and You’re In’ qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), will be renewed on Sept. 30.
The schedule for the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-olds sired by nominated stallions standing in Florida has also been adjusted to allow more spacing between races. The FFS series will kick off Sept. 9 with the $100,000 Desert Vixen for fillies and $100,000 Dr. Fager at six furlongs. The $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies and the $200,000 Affirmed at seven furlongs will be contested Oct. 21, while the $300,000 My Dear Girl for fillies and $300,000 In Reality at 1 1/16 miles will be run Dec. 2.
The $100,000 Smile Sprint (G3), a six-furlong dash, will be run July 1, supported by the $75,000 Bob Umphrey Sprint, a five-furlong turf sprint.
Full-scale simulcasting will complement the live thoroughbred racing program with Silks open seven days a week. Gulfstream patrons will be able to watch and wager on the full cards of the upcoming Triple Crown events, the May 6 Kentucky Derby (G1), for which Forte rates as the early-favorite, the May 20 Preakness Stakes (G1) and the June 10 Belmont Stakes (G1). Daily simulcasting of the Saratoga season will also be offered, in addition to racing signals throughout the country.
On Thursday’s opening day program, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will be represented by Greatitude, the 3-1 morning-line favorite in a well-balanced field of seven in Race 7, a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares. The 4-year-old daughter of Dialed In hasn’t raced since finishing off the board in the Forward Gal (G3) in February 2022. In her debut at Aqueduct, she set the pace and held gamely to finish third, just a neck behind eventual Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner Kathleen O. She came back to graduate at Gulfstream by 2 ¾ lengths to earn a start in the Forward Gal. Carlos David-trained Peachy Weachy, who has finished first or second in 10 of 16 career starts, holds a considerable experience edge over the Pletcher trainee.
Ailsa Morrison, a very promising 7-pound apprentice who has been idled since October, returns to action aboard Matthew Williams-trained Extra Indy in Race 2.
The wagering menu for the Royal Palm meet mirrors that of the Championship Meet, featuring the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (last six races), 50-cent Early Pick 5 (first five races), and 50-cent Late Pick 5 (last five races). Multiple Pick 4, Bet 3, and Super Hi-5 wagers, as well as Daily Double, Trifecta, Superfecta, win, place and show, are also on the menu.