Gulfstream offers fans the chance to give and receive
by BRIS
Date Posted: 11/29/2012 8:34:15 PM
Last Updated: 12/4/2012 4:28:05 PM

The Gulfstream VIP Fan Experience will once again be made available to racing fans during the 2012-2013 Gulfstream Park meeting. The unique and exclusive experience will provide fans with an all-access and behind-the-scenes look at Thoroughbred racing from the training of Thoroughbreds in the morning to presenting a trophy in the winner's circle in the afternoon.

The full day of activities and access is offered for a $250 donation. All proceeds raised through the VIP Fan Experience will go to Gulfstream Park's Thoroughbred Aftercare Program.

The Aftercare Program helps to raise funds and awareness for retired Thoroughbreds and match them with loving owners willing to make lifelong commitments to their health, safety and well being. The Aftercare Program also offers a curriculum for elementary schools and opportunities to adopt and sponsor retired Thoroughbreds through Florida Thoroughbred Retirement & Adoptive Care and a number of other organizations.

"The Gulfstream VIP Fan Experience is truly a behind the scenes look at our sport as well as a great opportunity to raise money and awareness for our aftercare program and our equine athletes," Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo said.

The Gulfstream VIP Fan Experience includes:

  • A morning tour of Gulfstream's backstretch and an opportunity to meet trainers and jockeys as horses are trained and groomed.
  • Presenting a plaque in the winner's circle to the winning connections of a race.
  • A race named in the fan's honor.
  • A personal seminar on the day's races with Gulfstream handicappers.
  • Watching track announcer Larry Collmus call a race.
  • A tour of the jockey's room with popular clerk of scales Victor Sanchez.
  • Lunch at Ten Palms.
  • A visit to the walking ring.
  • A Gulfstream Park gift bag.
  • For more information call 954-457-6451.

    Racing fans can also win an opportunity to take an escorted trip to Gulfstream Park's backstretch to meet trainer Dale Romans and Little Mike, the popular gelding who won four stakes races at Gulfstream before going on to capture this year's Breeders' Cup Turf and Grade 1 Arlington Million, beginning opening day Saturday.

    From December 1-15, guests can donate $1 to Gulfstream's Thoroughbred Aftercare Program and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund to enter for a chance to visit Little Mike on Gulfstream's backstretch and spend time with trainer Dale Romans. On December 15, the names of 50 people will be drawn to spend the morning of December 16 talking with Romans and meeting Little Mike.

    Donations will be taken for raffle tickets beginning opening day between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. (EST) at Gulfstream's north box office. Winners will be announced at GulfstreamPark.com, Facebook.com/GulfstreamPark and Facebook.com/GPAfterCare.

    Fans can also see Little Mike Saturday on Gulfstream's opening day. The gelding will be paraded in front of the grandstand between the 9TH and 10TH races on the program.

    Little Mike, owned by Priscilla Vaccarezza, won four races at Gulfstream in 2011, including the Grade 3 Fort Lauderdale, Grade 3 Canadian Turf and Grade 3 Appleton. The five-year-old son of Spanish Steps returned last winter to win the Florida Sunshine Millions Turf before going on to score in the Arlington Million, Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and Breeders' Cup Turf.

    "The Vaccarezza family is very generous to afford fans this opportunity," Ritvo said. "Not only can 50 fans meet Little Mike and Dale Romans, but at the same time they can donate to two worthy causes in Thoroughbred aftercare and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund."

    No one has a better view of Gulfstream Park and South Florida than track announcer Larry Collmus, and beginning opening day Saturday, fans may can join the popular announcer in his booth any day of the week while helping the Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred Aftercare Program.

    For a donation per person, up to six fans can meet Collmus and watch him call a race while taking in the view high atop his perch overlooking Gulfstream and out across Hollywood Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

    Collmus, a native of Baltimore who got his start at age 18 calling races at Bowie, has been the track announcer at numerous tracks, including Gulfstream and Monmouth. He has called the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes on NBC's broadcasts for the past two years. He joined NBC's broadcast of this year's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, calling Royal Delta's repeat triumph in the Ladies' Classic and Fort Larned's exciting narrow victory over Mucho Macho Man in the Classic.

    "I'm always grateful to do anything I can for such a worthy cause," Collmus said. "It's fun for racing fans and for me to do it. People get to experience a behind-the-scenes look at how I prepare for a race and watch me call a race. I've gotten to meet people I normally wouldn't have gotten to meet. It's a fun experience for everyone."

    To watch a race with Larry, go to Gulfstreampark.com/racing/Collmus and fill out the form, or call 954-457-6451 and make a reservation.

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