Gulfstream Meet Handle Averages $8.3 Million

Gulfstream Meet Handle Averages $8.3 Million
Photo: Coglianese Photos

Even though it faced new weekend competition from nearby Calder Casino & Race Course, Gulfstream Park came close to its record for average daily all-sources handle during its 2013-14 winter meet that ended April 6.

Gulfstream on April 8 said it had $691 million in all-sources handle for the 83-day meet that began Nov. 30, 2013.

The track's daily average was $8.33 million2.6% lower than its record $8.55 million for 90 days in 2012-13. That was the third straight winter meet in which the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track set its record for daily average all-sources handle.

Gulfstream had live handle of $49.7 million for its just-completed meet, for a daily average of $599,000. In 2012-13, it set a daily average record of $700,000 for live handle.

"Considering there were 55 less races than the year before, and 35 fewer on the turf, we're extremely pleased with the Champion's Meet (winter meet)," said Gulfstream Park president Tim Ritvo.

"Our fans and guests once again supported our Champion's Meet and we can't thank them enough." he said. "The fans of Thoroughbred racing are the economic engine of our sport, and we were overwhelmed with their support of Florida Derby weekend (March 29-30), the Claiming Crown (Dec. 7), and Eclipse Awards (Jan. 18)."

Comparable handle data are not readily available on Calder, which raced for the first time in January, February, and March. Calder, in Miami Gardens, Fla., raced Fridays through Sundays while Gulfstream raced Wednesdays through Sundays during those months.

A review of Equibase Co. charts shows that Calder's all-sources handle was in the $1 million range many days. An undetermined amount of that wagering would have otherwise been on Gulfstream racesperhaps enough to set another Gulfstream record.

The highlight of Gulfstream's meet came March 29 when the card included the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) and seven other stakes. A track record total of $26.8 million was wagered on the program, eclipsing the 2013 record of $24.6 million on Florida Derby day and representing an 8.96% increase.

In addition, the $36.5 million wagered during the two-day Florida Derby Weekend broke the 2004 record of $36.1 million.

Javier Castellano rode 132 winners for his third straight riding title. Paco Lopez, with 92 wins, and Luis Saez, with 70, finished second and third, respectively, in the jockeys' standings.

Todd Pletcher had 68 victories and won his 11th straight Gulfstream winter meet training title. He was followed by Mike Maker with 44 and Eddie Plesa Jr. and Dale Romans with 22 each.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey won their second straight owner title. They had 47 wins, followed by Frank Carl Calabrese and Northern Stud Stables with 15 each.

On March 29, Pletcher and Castellano teamed to win the Florida Derby with Constitution and the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies with In In Tune.

Gulfstream begins its spring/summer meet April 11 and will have racing every Friday through Sunday until the end of November. First post time will be 1:25 p.m. ET. The track will add Fridays to its schedule in December and will add Wednesdays for next January through March.

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