The Florida Derby

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The Florida Derby
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Gulfstream Sets Florida Derby Day Handle Mark

The $26.8 million wagered on 14-race live program March 29 was up 8.96% over 2013.

Gulfstream Park set an all-time Florida Derby day handle record March 29 when $26.8 million was wagered on the live program highlighted by the 63rd edition of the grade I event sponsored by Besilu Stables.

The total wagered on a 14-race program topped the previous mark of $24.6 million set in 2013, and represented an 8.96% increase.

The Florida Derby Day handle has increased year-to-year since 2011.

At Gulfstream's old building, the record Florida Derby day handle mark was $24.4 million in 2001. The building was torn down in 2004 to make way for the current facility.

The crowd witnessed an exciting stretch duel in this year's feature race won by Constitution  over Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winner Wildcat Red  by a neck.

The victory aboard Constitution was the first Florida Derby win for three-time leading rider Javier Castellano. It was the second for trainer Todd Pletcher, who will win an unprecedented 11th consecutive title at Gulfstream when the current meet concludes for statistical purposes April 6.

"We want to thank our fans and guests for making the 2014 Florida Derby so memorable," said Gulfstream President Tim Ritvo. "We also want to thank the horsemen for putting on such a memorable afternoon of racing, the jockeys who continue to build goodwill with our fans, and the staff here at Gulfstream. Some of our employees parked as far as two miles off site and were shuttled in."