Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino reported April 25 that the Florida track produced sizable increases in on-track and total handle, attendance, field size, and the number of races run over the turf during its 79-day race meet.
During the meet, which ran from Jan. 5 through April 24, Gulfstream offered 33 graded stakes races and more than $34 million in purses.
According to the track, the meet’s highlights were:
--Record total handle of $595,369,127, a nearly $50 million (8.9%) increase over last year.
--Record on-track handle of $47,497,632, a 14.1% increase over last year.
--An industry-record $5.1 million pool for a 10-cent wager April 23 on the Rainbow 6.
--Record total handle on Florida Derby weekend of $33.6 million, a 29% increase over last year’s previous record.
--Average field size increasing to a record 9.53 horses.
--A record 338 turf races, 39 more than the previous record.
--An 11% increase in attendance over the previous record set in 2010. (The attendance figures were not released.)
In a joint statement, president and GM Steve Calabro and vice president of racing Tim Ritvo said: “We entered the 60th anniversary season of the Florida Derby (gr. I) with a plan to expand our market. With the help of our horsemen, who put on an incredible show each and every day, we were able to showcase our great racing as well as one of the most innovative facilities in sports. We thank our loyal customer base for its support in helping to grow racing locally and globally.
“Our efforts to improve customer service were all well received, whether it was our Saturday morning breakfasts, backside tours, or the addition of nearly 100 betting machines. We also continued developing unique partnerships with historic and respected companies like Fasig-Tipton and Walt Disney Studios.”