Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
When live racing begins tomorrow afternoon at Gulfstream Park, it will officially be the end of the 2012-2013 meet. However, with its
proximity to the beginning of Gulfstream’s first ever spring-summer meet, it
can rightfully be called the beginning of a new era at the south Florida track.
A special card has been planned for Tuesday, along with two other special cards
slated for Monday, July 1 and Thursday, July 4. Racing will then only be
conducted on Saturdays and Sundays once the normal schedule gets under way.
Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo chose to conclude the
2012-2013 meet on Tuesday, June 25 because no other pari-mutuel facility was
running in the state on that day. He also was able to lure a total of 84
starters for Tuesday’s card by increasing the purse of each race on that day’s
card by $4,000 a piece and offering to award $1,000 to each starter regardless
of placement in each of the day’s races. Since tomorrow’s race card is a part
of the 2012-2013 meet, any owner that ran a horse at Gulfstream during the
winter is still eligible to claim. To protect the local horsemen, Ritvo put a
house rule into effect that forbids any horse claimed on tomorrow’s card to
race at any track outside of south Florida for 90 days.
Tomorrow’s card includes 8 races with race 7, a $35,000
optional claiming allowance for 3-year olds and up, as the featured race. The race drew a field of 8, including 2012
Sam F. Davis participant Ecabroni,
who boasts the red-hot duo of Joel Rosario and Wesley Ward as his jockey and
trainer. The Kirk Ziadie coupled entry of Runyon Humor and Musical Flair was
made the morning line favorite at odds of 2-1, while the Ronald Ordonez-trained
Major Prince was made the 20-1 longshot.
Bettors get your past performances and get to handicapping!
The 10-cent Rainbow 6 starts with the 3rd race, and the 50-cent Pick
5 begins with the 4th race. Since Tuesday is technically the last
day of the 2012-2013 meet, both will have mandatory payouts. Beginning with the
July 1 card, however, there will be carryovers for both pools if no one holds a
So far, three stakes races are on tap for the month of July
at Gulfstream. Stakes action begins on Thursday, July 4th with the
$100,000 The Armed Forces for Florida bred 3-year olds and up going 8.5
furlongs on the turf. Decisive Moment, Doubles Partner, and Bad Debt are among
the nominees for the Armed Forces. The $75,000 Cellars Shiraz for 3-year old
fillies at 8.5 furlongs on the turf is scheduled for Saturday, July 13, and the
$75,000 Showing Up for 3-year olds at 8.5 furlongs on the turf will be part of
the July 20th card.
Because negotiations between Calder and Gulfstream are still
ongoing, the two tracks will run head-to-head through the summer and into the
fall. An open policy was put into effect for tomorrow’s card, meaning that
horses stabled at Calder are allowed to ship and return to compete on Tuesday.
Ritvo hopes that this policy can continue. Gulfstream’s spring-summer meet will
continue up to the 2013-2014 meet which begins December 1. Calder’s meet ends
August 31, and its Tropical Meet begins the following day, September 1.
Gulfstream Park will again host the Eclipse Awards this
year. The ceremony will be on January 18, and will once again be the
culmination of a week full of events, though this year’s program will be
expanded. Events will include a golf tournament, celebrity poker tournament,
slots tournament, a handicapping tournament qualifier to the Daily Racing
Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, as well as racing and other
If the 2013 Eclipse Awards ceremony and preceding events
were any indication, fans and horsemen alike can expect another star-studded
and glitzy event. January’s ceremony was sold out, and over $120,000 was raised
for charity. The actual ceremony itself was preceded by the Sunshine Millions
series, and the Sunshine Millions Classic drew a star-studded field that
included Breeders’ Cup Classic 2nd place finisher Mucho Macho Man
and Santa Anita Handicap winner Ron the Greek. Though a schedule for the week has not yet been announced, it is likely that the Sunshine Millions Series would again preface the awards ceremony.
Changes and renovations continue at the track, as well.
Already the main track and turf course have undergone $1,000,000 worth of renovations,
and construction of 500 additional stalls has also been approved. Along with
hosting the Eclipse Awards, Gulfstream Park hopes to eventually lure the
Breeders’ Cup back to South Florida. With so many events, race dates, and
changes, horsemen and fans alike have much to look forward to at the south Florida track this summer and fall.