Gulfstream Handle Hits $3.3M for July 4 Card

Gulfstream Handle Hits $3.3M for July 4 Card
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin
Alley Oop Oop (left) beat Bad Debt by a head in the Armed Forces Stakes.

Gulfstream Park had all-sources handle of $3,327,705 for eight races July 4, its best total during the first three days of its first season of summer racing.

The track had $2 million in handle June 25 and $2.4 million July 1, both for eight races on weekdays that were not  national holidays.

(Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the July 4 all-sources handle as $2.9 million).

Also on July 4, the number of horses stabled at Gulfstream grew to about 650 as trainers continued to move from nearby Calder Casino & Race Course.

The two southeast Florida tracks will have their first head-to-head racing July 6, and are  both scheduled to race each Saturday and Sunday through the end of June 2014.

Approximately 20 trainers have moved from Calder to Gulfstream since June 28. Calder announced that day that with limited exceptions, Calder-stabled horses that race at Gulfstream will no not be allowed to return to Calder.

Gulfstream will permit its trainers to race at Calder and then return to Gulfstream to train.

Trainer Jose Garoffalo moved all 20 of his horses from Calder to Gulfstream in late June.

He said Calder's policy on shippers is an example of how Calder's parent, Churchill Downs Inc., "seems to be losing interest in racing at Calder and is just thinking about the casino.'

"Gulfstream wants to expand its racing and is offering higher purses, and this is where the owners want to be,''  Garoffalo said.

On July 4, trainer Barry Rose said he had moved his horses from Calder to Gulfstream. David Fawkes said he will make the Calder-to-Gulfstream switch a day or two after the July 6 Summit of Speed at Calder. Larry Bates, based at Calder, will decide shortly after July 6 on whether to move to Gulfstream.

Fawkes has entered Apriority and Bahamian Squall and Bates has entered Black Diamond Cat in the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) on the Summit of Speed card. They said they want to keep their stakes horses training at Calder through that day.

One of Calders exceptions for its "no return of shippers" rule is for horses that run at Gulfstream because their owners want to be eligible to claim horses at Gulfstream's summer meet that extends through the end of August.

Bates trains three horses that raced at Gulfstream July 1 and fall under that criterion.

"I told John Marshall (Calder vice president and general manager) that these owners had horses claimed at Gulfstream and Calder this year, and they need to rebuild their stables," Bates said, "He understood, and let the three horses return."

The Stronach Group, Gulfstream's parent company, made several unsuccessful offers to CDI to lease Calder racing dates and thus avoid head-to-head racing.

"Now it's like two freight trains getting ready to collide," Bates said. "They provide the stage. But we (trainers and owners) provide the horses that are the show, and we didn't cause any of this."

Gulfstream had live handle of $212,000 July 4 from a crowd that appeared to be in the 2,000 range.

Belmont Park had all-sources handle of $7.7 million for 10 races, while Delaware Park had all-sources handle of $935,000 for eight  races.

Gulfstream's July 4 card was its first of the summer with a stakes race.

Jacks or Better Farm's homebred Alley Oop Oop beat Bad Debt by a head in the $100,000 Armed Forces Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-olds and up (VIDEO).

Alley Oop Oop, a 5-year-old, is trained by Stan Gold and was ridden by Fernando Jara. He won in 1:41.45 on a course listed as firm. The winner is a Florida-bred son of Monsieur Cat out of the Wheaton mare Nizy's Lizzie.

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