Gulfstream stakes schedule worth over $10 million

Gulfstream Park announced today it will offer 61 stakes races – 33 graded – worth more than $10.1 million during its 2012-2013 Thoroughbred race meet, highlighted by the 62nd running of the Grade I, $1 million Florida Derby on Saturday, March 30.

            The 1 1/8th-mile Florida Derby will be one of seven stakes races – six of them graded – contested on March 30 with total stakes purses of $1.875 million. Other races on Florida Derby Day include the Grade II, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks, Grade III $150,000 Rampart, Grade III, $150,000 Orchid, Grade III $100,000 Skip Away and Grade III $100,000 Appleton.
            Gulfstream’s 90-day winter meet will kick off Saturday, Dec. 1 with the 14th running of the Claiming Crown, an $850,000 seven-stakes event designed to recognize and celebrate the sport’s most enduring and competitive claiming horses.
            Gulfstream, the winter of home of Thoroughbred champions, will not only offer a lucrative stakes program for 3-year-old colts and fillies pointing toward the spring classics, but also a challenging and diverse schedule for older horses on the main track and turf course.
            Along with Florida Derby Day, highlights of the 2012-2013 schedule include:
The Grade II, $400,000 Fountain of Youth  contested at 1 1/16th miles, will be one of three graded stakes races Feb. 23 along with the $250,000 Davona Dale  at 1 1/16th miles for 3-year-old fillies and the $150,000 Canadian Turf for 4-year-olds and up at a mile.
The Grade III, $400,000 Holy Bull  for 3-year-olds at a 1 1/16th miles, and the $200,000 Forward Gal for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, will both be contested on Saturday, Jan. 26.
The $1.3 Florida Sunshine Millions, historically run the last weekend in January, will be run Saturday, Jan. 19 and serve as a prelude to the 42nd annual Eclipse Awards, capping off a week of fund-raising activities for Thoroughbred retirement and aftercare.
The 55th running of the Grade I, $500,000 Donn Handicap will headline four graded stakes on Feb. 9 for older horses. The three other stakes will be the Grade I, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and the Grade III, $150,000 Suwannee River both at 1 1/8th mile on the turf, and the Grade II, $150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint at seven furlongs.
The weekend of March 2-3 will feature three graded stakes for 3-year-olds: the Grade III, $150,000 Swale at seven furlongs, the Grade III, $150,000 Palm Beach at 1 1/8th miles on the turf, and the Grade III, $100,000 Herecomesthebride  for fillies at 1 1/8th miles on the turf.
The inaugural running of the Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred Aftercare Stallion Stakes, for progeny of stallions whose fees are donated to an on-line auction to benefit retired Thoroughbred horses, will be run closing day, April 5 for 3-year-olds and up at 7 1/2 furlongs.
            “We believe the stakes schedule for the 2012-13 meeting is the most varied and valuable we have ever offered,” said Gulfstream President and General Manager Timothy Ritvo. “Because of the commitment to Thoroughbred racing by our Chairman, Mr. Frank Stronach, we have been able to work with our industry partners to bring the prestigious Eclipse Awards to Gulfstream as well as the popular Claiming Crown. We have made some slight adjustments to our stakes schedule, but we believe our horsemen, who have been incredible partners of ours, will find the changes beneficial and rewarding.”