Though the declining stock price of its parent Magna Entertainment Corp. prevented Gulfstream Park from the major renovations it had planned, construction crews were at the Hallandale, Fla. track this week, razing a section of the grandstand.
Leveled was the entire north annex of the grandstand, an area that was constructed during the 1950s and held approximately 3,000 seats. But as live attendance dwindled the annex was routinely empty, and track officials felt the land would be better utilized as an outdoor picnic area.
"The only time we ever used that annex was on Florida Derby day," said Gulfstream president Scott Savin, "Our goal is to move more people trackside, and with its great view of the turn that area is perfect."
Savin said that a 27,000-square-foot picnic area, similar to the one at Monmouth Park, would be completed before the meet starts in January. "Like Monmouth we are a resort meet, and outdoors is where people want to be," he said.
Magna's original plans had called for an entire overhaul of the 63-year-old facility, an undertaking which Savin said may still take place in the future.