Two of the leading previews of the Florida Derby will be grouped on Feb. 14. The $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) and the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) are programmed, along with the $100,000 Old Hat Stakes.
Gulfsream Park announced its 2004 stakes schedule today, with 41 added-money events worth $8.5 million to be run during the Jan. 3 to April 25, meet.Thirty two of the stakes will be graded.The Sunshine Millions, with four stakes with $1,550,000, will be run on Jan. 24. The Sunshine Millions pits Florida-breds against California-breds with the stakes alternating between two Magna Entertainment Corp. (MEC) tracks yearly. Santa Anita will also run four stakes that day.The $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) is slated for March 13. Four other stakes are set for the Florida Derby day card: the $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. III), $100,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III), $100,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. III), and $60,000 Marshua's River Stakes."We are looking forward to a banner meeting," said Scott Savin, Gulfstream president and general manager, in a release. "With the completion of Palm Meadows (MEC's training center at Boynton Beach, Fla.), its 1,440 stalls are certain to be filled with quality horses due to the overwhelming response of many of the nation's leading trainers. The 1,300 stalls at Gulfstream are fully allotted."Since racing fans have demonstrated a distinct preference for 'big' days of racing with more than one feature on a program, we are offering five programs with at least three stakes and eight with two."Gulfstream will open with a tripleheader on Jan. 3, the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III), the $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. III) and the $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III). The $150,000 Appleton Handicap (gr. II) Jan. 4 will complete the opening weekend lineup.The $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I), the richest test of the meet for handicap runners, will be run Feb. 7. The supporting events will be the $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) and the $100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III).