HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows opened their barn areas Thursday morning to more than 30 Thoroughbreds in preparation for Gulfstream's 90-day Thoroughbred meet, which begins Dec. 1 with the $850,000 Claiming Crown.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has been Gulfstream's leading trainer an unprecedented nine consecutive years, shipped 13 horses to Palm Meadows, Gulfstream's satellite training center. Meanwhile, more than two dozen horses arrived at Gulfstream from the stables of Cam Gambolati, Ralph Nicks and Marcus Vitali.
Gambolati, who trained 1985 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Spend a Buck and 2011 Hal's Hope (G3) winner Soaring Empire, was expecting stable star Madame Giry to arrive Friday from Keeneland.
Vitali, who visited the winner's circle 10 times last winter and arrived Thursday from New England, said, "It's great to be back."
Gulfstream's winter meet will be one of its most memorable, beginning Dec. 1 when its plays host for the first time to the $850,000 Claiming Crown. The week of Jan. 12 will feature a number of events, many tied to charity, that will culminate in the afternoon with the $1.3 million Florida Sunshine Millions and that evening's 42nd annual Eclipse Awards. The meet will be highlighted by the $1 million Florida Derby on March 30.
Gulfstream's first condition book has been released and is available at gulfstreampark.com. Nominations for the Claiming Crown are due Nov. 9. More information is available at claimingcrown.com.