After 12 weeks of competition, Gulfstream Park concluded its spring race meet Tuesday, awarding meet titles for leading rider, owner and trainer.
Apprentice Tyler Gaffalione, who assumed command of the rider standings in early May and never looked back, was a comfortable winner of the meet title, the first of his still-young riding career. Gaffalione, 20, rode 69 winners between April 8 and June 30, 22 more than second-leading rider Eddie Castro. Those victories included stakes triumphs aboard Celebrity Star in the Sunrise Handicap; Little Michelle in the Gracie Handicap on ; and Little Alexis in the Barey Even Handicap on June 20. The South Florida native twice had four-win days during the meet, doing so on May 1 and June 28, and his mounts earned a total of almost $1.5 million.
"It’s such a humbling experience,” Gaffalione said. “I’ve worked so hard, and my agent has put in a lot of work for us to get here. We’ve tried to do everything the right way, and I just feel so blessed to be given this opportunity.
“Everyone out here is working hard,” he added. “It’s just a matter of luck. You get to ride the good horses, some people just get better opportunities, but everyone’s out here working hard, and I’m just blessed to be given the opportunity to ride such nice horses for such good trainers.”
Frank Calabrese captured the title as leading owner, as his horses earned 21 victories this spring. The Chicago native, who has captured numerous meet titles at Gulfstream over the years, was represented by runners that earned more than $319,000; his horses won at a 32-percent clip and finished in the money more than 60 percent of the time. A highlight of the meet for Calabrese came when his Grade 1 stakes-placed colt Fast Anna returned from a seventh-month layoff to capture the Sawgrass Handicap, the first stakes victory of his six-race career, in his turf debut on June 11.
Jacks or Better Farm was the second-leading owner. Their homebreds earned a meet-high $438,300 with nine fewer starters and eight fewer victories than Calabrese. Grande Shores led the way for the Jacks or Better stable, winning the Parrot Key Handicap on June 6 and finishing second in the Blue Heron Handicap on April 23. A 7-year-old gelded son of Black Mambo, Grande Shores has finished first or second in 15 consecutive starts.
In the closest finish of the title battles, Kirk Ziadie was named leading trainer with 22 victories, two more than Michael Petro. Ziadie’s horses won 49 percent of their starts and earned more than $376,000 throughout the meet. The Ziadie-trained R Free Roll won the Tiger Lily Handicap on June 6.
Gulfstream’s summer race meet begins and will be headlined by the $1.15 million Summit of Speed program on , which features the Smile Sprint (G2) and Princess Rooney (G2) as Breeders’ Cup 'Win & You’re In' races. Another highlight will be the $2.5 million Florida Sire Stakes series, which will have three featured dates on , , and .
Multiple $4,002.66 Tickets Produced by Tuesday’s Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout
A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 resulted in multiple ticketholders each cashing for $4,002.66 Tuesday at Gulfstream as the spring meet concluded. The winning sequence for the popular 20-cent bet was 5-7-1-2-4-5.
The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot is paid out only when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool. However, when there is a mandatory payout, a bettor doesn’t necessarily have to hold a unique ticket with all six winners to grab a share of the mandatory carryover pool. Instead, all bettors holding tickets with the most winners in the six-race sequence will share in the entire pool that day.
There will be another mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6, Pick 5 and Super Hi-5 . The Rainbow 6 will span the third through eighth races; first post for the card is