HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Many of Thoroughbred racing’s biggest stars – including six Breeders’ Cup winners, the first three finishers from the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and undefeated juvenile Shanghai Bobby - are expected to slowly begin returning to Gulfstream Park and its satellite training facility Palm Meadows for the upcoming 2012-2013 meet.
Gulfstream opens Saturday, Dec. 1 with the $850,000 Claiming Crown. Gulfstream will also play host Saturday, Jan. 19 to the 42nd annual Eclipse Awards. The $1 million Florida Derby will be contested Saturday, March 30.
Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, winner of Gulfstream's Skip Away (G3) last winter, will head to Palm Meadows after a stop in Kentucky to prepare for his 5-year-old campaign. Mucho Macho Man, second in the Classic, will return to trainer Kathy Ritvo's barn at Gulfstream, where he won last winter's Florida Sunshine Millions Classic and Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).
Trainer Bill Mott, who trained third-place finisher Flat Out and fourth-place finisher Ron the Greek, was to ship both horses to his winter base at Payson Park in Indiantown. Flat Out was stabled and raced twice last winter at Gulfstream, while Ron the Greek finished second in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic. Two-time Ladies' Classic winner Royal Delta, also trained by Mott and second in Gulfstream's Sabin (G3) last winter, will also be sent to Payson.
Undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Shanghai Bobby, the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1), will winter at Palm Meadows for trainer Todd Pletcher. Shanghai Bobby will be the second undefeated Juvenile winner to stable at Palm Meadows for Pletcher. In 2011, Pletcher wintered undefeated Uncle Mo at the state-of-the-art facility in Palm Beach County.
Popular Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) winner Little Mike, a multiple-stakes winner at Gulfstream, will return to the Gulfstream barn of Dale Romans for his 6-year-old campaign while Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winner Groupie Doll, who raced four times last winter at Gulfstream, is expected to return for her 5-year-old campaign. Also returning to South Florida will be Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) winner Trinniberg, winner of Gulfstream's Swale Stakes (G3).
Others Breeders' Cup starters expected to make their way to Gulfstream for the upcoming meet include 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, who stabled at Palm Meadows and raced at Gulfstream last winter and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1), Point of Entry, a winner against allowance company last winter at Gulfstream and second in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1), and Dreaming of Julia, third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Zagora, who wintered at Palm Meadows and won Friday's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), was scheduled to be sold at auction Monday.