Palm Meadows opened the gates to its fifth season Wednesday in Florida.In what has become a tradition, first to enter was a large shipment of Thoroughbreds conditioned by Todd Pletcher, the nation's Eclipse Award-winning trainer the last two years. The temperature was in the low 70s at 6 a.m. when Pletcher's horses arrived. By day's end he was expected to have a string of 50 at the Boynton Beach training facility.Horses trained by Nick Zito and Kiaran McLaughlin also were to arrive Wednesday."We expect to have more than a hundred horses on the grounds by the end of the week," said Gary Van Den Broek, general manager of the training facility since its opening Nov. 29, 2002. Palm Meadows is a state-of-the-art training facility that, like Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino, is owned by Magna Entertainment Corp. Designed by MEC Chairman Frank Stronach, it is located 47 miles north of Gulfstream Park, within view of Florida's Turnpike.The 304-acre facility has a seven-furlong, 176-feet wide turf course, a mile and an eighth main track and a one-mile jogging path. Its 40 barns can accommodate 1,325 Thoroughbreds.
Kentucky Derby winners Barbaro (2006) and Funny Cide (2003) spent the early days of their campaign as 3-year-olds there. The two most recent Horse of the Year champions, Ghostzapper (2004) and Saint Liam (2005), were also in residence.