Though only two of 12 scheduled races were run, consensus was the Super Track Racing Series held at Gulfstream Park March 10 went well.
"Our main focus was trying to set a standard for this and build from here," said Scott Savin, Gulfstream's president. "This is something you'll definitely see more of in the future."
Although numbers were not made available, Savin said the handle for traditional wagering was up strongly from comparable races on prior days. Gulfstream's overall handle for the card that included the Florida Derby (gr. I) was a record $5.2 million.
Gulfstream and other simulcasting outlets offered a pari-mutuel point-spread wager for the series. The teams accumulated points based on their performances: four points for first place, three for second, two for third, and one for fourth. The series ended in a tie between the Miami Cruisers and Los Angeles Blaze. Bettors who wagered on a tie received a $27.80 payoff.
"I think this is a good idea but obviously needs some fine-tuning," said trainer Mark Hennig, echoing the opinion of many horsemen. "I enjoy the fact that Mr. (Frank) Stronach has ideas that are a little bit out of the old tradition...sometimes a lot out of the old tradition."
The series was definitely unconventional. Jockeys, wearing team silks and riding horses with blinkers adorned by team logos, were introduced by announcer Vic Stauffer with height and weight, as if boxers. The introductions were accompanied by stadium music and the horses walked onto the track by cheerleaders