Edited release from Gulfstream Park
Gulfstream Park, currently undergoing a major reconstruction, will have a one-mile chute on its dirt track when its 2005 racing season gets under way Jan. 3. The 86-day meet runs through April 24.
Gulfstream's main track was enlarged during the summer to a circumference of 1 1/8 miles, with a backstretch chute that allows for sprint and middle distance races of up to 7 1/2 furlongs. The chute was extended by about 150 yards to allow for mile races.
"Our horsemen and our fans both told us that they wanted mile races," Gulfstream president and general manager Scott Savin said in a release. "We've been working on this for some time now, and we're pleased that everything is in place for it to happen. It's a winner all around."
"Trainers are more likely to try their sprinters at one mile than at a two-turn route of ground," Gulfstream racing secretary David Bailey said, "and for those horses who find 1 1/8 miles just a little too far, one mile is more suitable. It's an ideal distance to try off of a short layoff as well, and a nice extension for promising 3-year-olds who have just broken their maidens at six furlongs. I expect that these races will be well supported at the entry box."
The $100,000 Aventura Stakes for 3-year-olds on Jan. 8 will be held at one mile. It previously was run at 1 1/16 miles, and for 2005 was scheduled at 7 1/2 furlongs before the chute was extended.
The chute offers a unique geographical component. Because the county line between Broward and Miami-Dade counties bisects the track property near the 7/8ths pole, horses in one mile-events will start in Miami-Dade County and end in Broward County.