Due to all casino closings and the lack of on-track handle, Gulfstream Park on Saturday announced the Florida Derby (G1) will run next Saturday, March 28, as a $750,000 race.
That's down from $1 million and falls in line with the same move made by Oaklawn Park to make its Arkansas Derby (G1), now scheduled for May 2, worth 3/4 of a million as well.
Churchill Downs officials assured Oaklawn that both the Arkansas Derby and its Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies, which also saw a purse decrease, would allot the same number of Kentucky Derby and Oaks qualifying points, on a 100-40-20-10 basis to the first four finishers. The same will apply to Gulfstream, a Churchill spokesman confirmed Saturday.
The Oaks and Derby have been postponed until Sept. 4 and 5, respectively, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with the Florida Derby, next Saturday's Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and Pan American (G2) will offer $200,000 purses, down from $250,000. Also, the Cutler Bay and Sanibel Island will go for $100,000, down from $125,000.
The 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby marks an expected rematch between Holy Bull (G3) winner Tiz the Law and Fountain of Youth (G2) hero Ete Indien. Entries will be taken Wednesday.