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Gulfstream Serious About Breeders' Cup Bid

The Stronach Group plans a major build-out of the South Florida racetrack.

Gulfstream Park could make a serious bid to host a future Breeders' Cup World Championships, officials confirmed Nov. 2.

Officials with The Stronach Group have been in regular contact with Breeders' Cup officials to determine what would be required of the South Florida racetrack. Gulfstream obviously would require major expansion, but The Stronach Group already has those plans in place.

Gulfstream president Tim Ritvo said owner Frank Stronach plans a "major build-out" on the property, including two hotels and seating that could accommodate up to 65,000 people. Major construction would begin after the Gulfstream meet ends in early April 2013.

"There is a huge plan for the property," Ritvo said. "The Breeders' Cup is the pinnacle of racing, and Frank Stronach feels strongly about having great racing at his tracks. Obviously we would have a lot of work to do at Gulfstream, but it could be ready to go (in the future)."

Santa Anita Park, owned by The Stronach Group, is hosting this year's World Championships Nov. 2-3 and will serve as host site in 2013. Breeders' Cup hasn't selected a host site for 2014.

"Mr. Stronach has inquired if South Florida could be a possible future host site," Breeders' Cup chief operating officer Bob Elliston said. "We've said to everyone we're always looking for venues, and Mr. Stronach gave us reasons to believe he wants to be part of the process."

Gulfstream hosted the Breeders' Cup three times, in 1989, 1992, and 1999. The facility was much larger then with more than enough permanent seating.

The grandstand was leveled to make way for a smaller facility designed to accommodate smaller crowds that attend the races on a daily basis. Gulfstream now has slot machines in its facility and is linked to a development with restaurants, shops, and condominiums.

Despite the changes there remains plenty of open space on the property, particularly to the south off Route 1.