Saturday, April 24 2010

Huge Turnaround Propels Gulfstream Park to Handle Jump

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sat, April 24, 2010) - Anchored by a record-setting Florida Derby Day, Gulfstream Park ended its 79-day meet with total handle of $550.9 million, an increase of 4.2-percent over 2009.

With arguably the worst winter ever in South Florida in terms of both cold and rain, eventually forcing 42 races off the turf compared to just 12 in 2009, Gulfstream Park was showing tremendous declines on its live racing. At the end of January, on-track handle was down 19-percent while all sources was down 13-percent. As the meet concluded, the on-track decline was all but erased (down less than 1-percent) while all sources handle soared to be up 4.2-percent.

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‘Paco’ & Pletcher Alone on the Lead as Gulfstream Meet Closes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sat, April, 24 2010) - There was little drama in the horsemen’s title chases in the final weeks of the 2010 Gulfstream Park racing season that closes on Saturday as Todd Pletcher sealed a seventh consecutive championship more than a month ago and 24-year-old jockey Paco Lopez drew off from his closest rivals adding six more winners in the last two days.

Pletcher is the focus of national attention this week as he prepares a team of 3-year-olds starts for next Saturday’s 136th Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs while assistant Anthony Sciametta remained at Palm Meadows with the stable continuing to be represented this final week.

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Thursday, April 22 2010

Swale Stakes Rematch in Withers at Aqueduct Saturday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Thu, April, 22 2010) - It has become apparent in recent weeks as the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Triple Crown season unfolds that a remarkable number of leading 3-year-old prospects raced at Gulfstream Park this year, a fact re-affirmed Saturday with the fields assembled for Saturday’s $200,000 Derby Trial Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs and $150,000 Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.

The heavy favorite for the Withers will be Paul Pompa, Jr.’s D’Funnybone, winner of the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) on Feb. 20 and Swale Stakes (G2) on Florida Derby Day, Mar. 20, at Gulfstream in his last two starts for trainer Rick Dutrow with his rivals to include Anstu Stable’s Ibboyee, third in the Hutcheson and second in the Swale for trainer Todd Pletcher.

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Bim Bam & ‘Speak Easy’ Lead Sunshine State Bonanza Closing Gulfstream 2010 ‘Live’ Racing Se

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Thu, April, 22 2010) - J D Farm’s 3-year-old colt Bim Bam and Farnsworth Stables’ 4-year-old filly Speak Easy Gal have each won stakes during Gulfstream Park’s 2010 racing season, and each could take home a final major prize on closing day at the session in the $100,000 Island Whirl Florida Thoroughbred Charities Stakes and $100,000 Capital Request Florida Thoroughbred Charities Stakes, respectively.

The two companion events to be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf highlight the first annual $400,000 Sunshine State Bonanza program with four other races worth $50,000 each on the 12-race card to be run under starter/allowance conditions, two at one mile on turf for 3-year-olds and up and two at seven furlongs on the main track restricted to 3-year-olds.

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Sunday, April 18 2010

Soaring Empire to Join Cast for Derby Trial

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sun, April, 18 2010) – Add Ol Memorial Stable and C.E. Glasscock’s Soaring Empire to the intriguing probable field now expected to line up for this year’s enriched $200,000 Derby Trial Stakes (G3) to be run next Saturday at Churchill Downs reported trainer Cam Gambolati Saturday morning at Palm Meadows.

Soaring Empire is an Empire Maker colt purchased for $190,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales. He finished eighth behind Ice Box after a rough start last out in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Mar. 20 with trouble later in the race in his second start this year after a seven-furlong allowance victory over the track on Feb. 25.

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Eskendereya Drills at Palm Meadows Saturday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sat, April, 17 2010) – Fountain of Youth (G2) winner and likely favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1) Eskendereya worked Saturday morning at Palm Meadows in his final work in Florida before shipping to Kentucky on Tuesday.

Trainer Todd Pletcher had tentatively scheduled Zayat Stable’s Eskendereya to work Sunday morning at Palm Meadows before boarding a plane Tuesday for the flight to Louisville, but weather forecast for possible heavy rain caused the trainer to call an audible and move the work up to Saturday.

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Friday, April 16 2010

‘Paco’ Returns a Winner at Gulfstream Thursday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Fri, April, 16 2010) – After a week off from riding to attend to personal business in his native Mexico, 24-year-old jockey Paco Lopez got back to professional business at Gulfstream Park on Thursday riding two winners and extending his lead in the standings to 10 with 62 victories at the session and six racing days to go before closing on Sat., Apr. 24.

Veteran Elvis Trujillo took advantage of Lopez’ absence last week to close the gap with nine wins and ranks second on the leader board with 52 tallies. John Velazquez and Javier Castellano led the standings for most of the meet before shifting their tack after Florida Derby weekend last month, but remain third and fourth in the standings with 50 and 46 wins, respectively.

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In the Rough & Sea Road Likely Choices in Boynton Beach

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Thu., April, 15 2010) – Lori and George Hall’s In the Rough and Alex Rankin and partners’ Sea Road will get a final start in the South Florida sunshine at Gulfstream Park Saturday when they go to the post as the probable favorites in a field of nine 3-year-old fillies entered in the $50,000 Boynton Beach Stakes at 7 ½ furlongs on turf before shipping to summer quarters in New Jersey and New York, respectively.

Leading jockey Paco Lopez gets the call on In the Rough for trainer Kelly Breen as she bids to bounce back from a seventh-place finish last out in the nine-furlong Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) after an impressive score in the Coconut Grove Stakes over the course in her previous start.

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Monday, April 12 2010

Trio of Pletcher Team Derby Hopes Breeze at Palm Meadows

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sun., April, 11 2010) – The countdown is on to the 136th edition of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 1 and trainer Todd Pletcher had three colts from his all-star team working a half-mile Sunday morning at Palm Meadows – E. Paul Robsham’s Discreetly Mine (51), Twin Creek Racing Stable’s Mission Impazible (49 1/5) and WinStar Farm’s Rule (49 4/5).

All three have solid credentials and appear assured of a berth in the Derby with sufficient Graded stakes earnings, but Pletcher also trains the favorite in Zayat Stable’s Eskendereya, brilliant winner of the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 20 and Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct on Apr. 3.

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Saturday, April 10 2010

Lopez & Pletcher Lead Gulfstream Standings into Final Days

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sat., April, 10 2010) – Jockey Paco Lopez has missed the last three days of riding at Gulfstream Park to attend to business in his native Mexico, and will not ride here Saturday; but the 24-year-old, 2008 Eclipse champion apprentice continues to hold a commanding lead in the standings with just nine races days to go before closing on Sat., Apr. 24. Lopez is expected back in time for Sunday’s program.

Lopez goes into Saturday’s card with 60 wins, 10 more than closest rival Javier Castellano second at 50, who has finished his South Florida winter campaign, and is now riding at Keeneland before moving on to New York for the summer. The only rider with a chance of catching Lopez would appear to be Elvis Trujillo now third with 48 wins, who will ride out the meet.

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Friday, April 09 2010

Merkabah & The Great McGee Meet in Sunday Feature

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Thu., April 8 2010) – Knob Hill Stable’s Merkabah and Kuehne Racing’s The Great McGee are 4-year-olds that each posted impressive maiden victories over the Gulfstream Park turf course in their last starts and will take the next step as promising late-bloomers in Sunday’s ‘a other than’ allowance feature.

Jose Lezcano gets aboard Merkabah for trainer Kevin Attard in the one-mile turf test as the well-bred son of turf champion Theatrical makes only the second start of his career after a wire-to-wire debut here on Mar. 11. The Canadian homebred is out of Knob Hill’s top-class turf stakes mare Chopinina, runner-up against colts in the 2002 Atto Mile (G1) at Woodbine.

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Sunshine State Bonanza Shines Brightly on April 24 Finale

HALLANDALE, FL (Friday, April 9, 2010) – Gulfstream Park may draw the curtain on live racing for the 2010 meeting, but they won’t let the sun go down.

A salute to Florida-bred horses and their human fans, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in stakes money races, highlight the first Sunshine State Bonanza, to be held Saturday, April 24 at Gulfstream Park—which is also closing day of the live racing meet. As an added bonus, the wildly popular All Turf Pick 4 wager, a staple on Sundays, will be offered on Saturday to round out the final four races of the 2010 season.

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