The 1 1/8th-mile Florida Derby will be one of seven stakes races - six of them graded - contested on March 30 with total stakes purses of $1.875 million. Other races on Florida Derby Day include the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), $150,000 Rampart (G3), $150,000 Orchid (G3), $100,000 Skip Away (G3) and $100,000 Appleton (G3).
Gulfstream's 90-day winter meet will kick off Saturday, Dec. 1 with the 14th running of the Claiming Crown, an $850,000 seven-stakes event designed to recognize and celebrate the sport's most enduring and competitive claiming horses.
Gulfstream, the winter of home of Thoroughbred champions, will not only offer a lucrative stakes program for 3-year-old colts and fillies pointing toward the spring classics, but also a challenging and diverse schedule for older horses on the main track and turf course.
Along with Florida Derby Day, highlights of the 2012-2013 schedule include:
§ The $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2), contested at 1 1/16th miles, will be one of three graded stakes races Feb. 23 along with the $250,000 Davona Dale (G2) at 1 1/16th miles for 3-year-old fillies and the $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3) for 4-year-olds and up at a mile.
§ The $400,000 Holy Bull (G3), for 3-year-olds at a 1 1/16th miles, and the $200,000 Forward Gal (G2), for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, will both be contested on Saturday, Jan. 26.
§ The $1.3 Florida Sunshine Millions, historically run the last weekend in January, will be run Saturday, Jan. 19 and serve as a prelude to the 42nd annual Eclipse Awards, capping off a week of fund-raising activities for Thoroughbred retirement and aftercare.
§ The 55th running of the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) will headline four graded stakes on Feb. 9 for older horses. The three other stakes will be the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and the $150,000 Suwannee River (G3), both at 1 1/8th mile on the turf, and the $150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G2) at seven furlongs.
§ The inaugural running of the Sophomore Soiree, contested New Year's Day, will feature four stakes races for 3-year-olds including the second running of the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby and $100,000 Old Hat Stakes (G3).
§ The weekend of March 2-3 will feature three graded stakes for 3-year-olds: the $150,000 Swale (G3) at seven furlongs, the $150,000 Palm Beach (G3) at 1 1/8th miles on the turf, and the $100,000 Herecomesthebride (G3) for fillies at 1 1/8th miles on the turf.
§ The inaugural running of the Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred Aftercare Stallion Stakes, for progeny of stallions whose fees are donated to an on-line auction to benefit retired Thoroughbred horses, will be run closing day, April 5 for 3-year-olds and up at 7 1/2 furlongs.
"We believe the stakes schedule for the 2012-13 meeting is the most varied and valuable we have ever offered," said Gulfstream President and General Manager Timothy Ritvo. "Because of the commitment to Thoroughbred racing by our Chairman, Mr. Frank Stronach, we have been able to work with our industry partners to bring the prestigious Eclipse Awards to Gulfstream as well as the popular Claiming Crown. We have made some slight adjustments to our stakes schedule, but we believe our horsemen, who have been incredible partners of ours, will find the changes beneficial and rewarding."
Click link for 2012-2013 stakes schedule:
Gulfstream's stakes schedule for 3-year-olds begin Jan. 1 with four stakes as part of the Sophomore Soiree, including the Gulfstream Park Derby at a mile and the $100,000 Spectacular Bid at six furlongs. It continues Jan. 26 with the $400,000 Holy Bull, as well as the $100,000 Kitten's Joy at 1 1/16th miles on the turf. The $150,000 Hutcheson (G2) will be run at seven furlongs Feb. 2, the Fountain of Youth Feb. 23, the Swale at seven furlongs March 2 and the Palm Beach March 3 at 1 1/16th miles on the turf. The major races for 3-year-olds will culminate March 30 with the Florida Derby.
Gulfstream's stakes schedule for 3-year-old fillies is equally as enticing. Things kick off Jan. 1 with the Old Hat at six furlongs and the $75,000 Ginger Brew at 1 1/16th mile on the turf. The 33rd running of the Forward Gal, contested Jan. 26, will be followed Jan. 27 with the $100,000 Sweetest Chant at a mile on the turf. After the running of the 26th running of the Davona Dale on Feb. 23, the $100,000 Herecomesthebride will be run March 2 across a 1 1/8th-mile turf course followed by the Gulfstream Park Oaks on Florida Derby Day.
For the second consecutive season, Gulfstream will open its racing season in December. Along with the seven Claiming Crown stakes races, Gulfstream will offer horsemen eight additional stakes races during the month, including the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G3) Dec. 8 at six furlongs for fillies and mares and the $100,000 Mr. Prospector (G3) Dec. 29 for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.
Gulfstream's January stakes schedule will offer numerous opportunities on the turf, including the $100,000 Marshua's River (G3) Jan. 5 for 4-year-old fillies and mares; the $100,000 Fort Lauderdale (G3) Jan. 12 for 4-year-olds and up; the Jan. 19 $150,000 Sunshine Millions Turf for 4-year-olds and up and $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf for 4-year-olds; the $100,000 Kitten's Joy Jan. 20 for 3-year-olds; and the $100,000 Sweetest Chant Jan. 27 for 3-year-old fillies at a mile.
The weekend of Feb. 16 will offer fans and horsemen two exciting turf races for older horses. The Very One (G3), for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up, and the Mac Diarmida, for 4-year-olds and up, will both be contested over 1 3/8th miles on the turf course. The 1 1/2-mile Pan American (G2) for 4-year-olds and up on the turf, will be run March 23 while the Orchid, a 1 1/2-mile turf event for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up, will be run March 30.
Horses 4-years-old and up will get to compete in stakes on Gulfstream's main track in the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint, the Hal's Hope (G3) Jan. 13 at a mile, the Donn, the Gulfstream Park Sprint, the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) March 9 at a mile, and 1 3/16th-mile Skip Away March 30.
Older fillies and mares will have several opportunities across Gulfstream's main track. Along with the $150,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint, Gulfstream will play host to the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) Feb. 10 at 6 1/2 furlongs, the $100,000 Sabin (G3) Feb. 17 at 1 1/16th miles, the $150,000 Inside Information (G2) March 17 at seven furlongs, and the $150,000 Rampart at 1 1/8th miles.