By Gulfstream Park Press Staff – The Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, which has evolved into one of sport’s most exciting and prestigious days, and the Florida Derby, producer of an amazing 60 Triple Crown race winners, will highlight Gulfstream Park’s 2020-2021 Championship Meet that begins Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Having attracted the world’s top horses and horsemen since 1939, Gulfstream’s Championship Meet will offer a total of 75 stakes, including 41 graded-stakes, worth $13.06 million in purses.
Entering its fifth year, the Pegasus World Cup Championship Series has continued to attract the sport’s biggest stars including champions Arrogate, Gun Runner and California Chrome as well as 2019 winner City of Light and international sensations Aerolithe, Kukulkan and Magic Wand. The race has also brought out stars from film, music and fashion including Jennifer Lopez, Post Malone, Snoop Dogg, Olivia Culpo, Usher, Vanessa Hudgens, Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell and Bella Thorne.
Pegasus World Cup Day falls on Jan. 23, 2021 and will feature a total of seven stakes, all graded, worth $4.8 million led by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) for 4-year-olds and up going 1 3/16 miles on the grass.
Gun Runner, Horse of the Year in 2017; 2014 and 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome; 2016 Longines World’s Best Racehorse Arrogate, the champion 3-year-old colt of 2016; and Mexico’s undefeated Triple Crown champion Kukulkan are among the prominent horses that have competed in the Pegasus World Cup since its 2017 debut.
The Pegasus World Cup Turf saw its inaugural winner Bricks and Mortar go on to complete an undefeated 2019 season and be named both champion turf male and Horse of the Year. Irish star Magic Wand, a multiple group stakes winner of nearly $5 million in purses, has finished second in both years of the event.
Florida Derby Day will take place March 27, 2021 anchored by the $800,000 Florida Derby (G1), the country’s leading classic prep race that has produced 45 starters that have gone on to win 60 Triple Crown events, a list that grew when 2020 winner Tiz the Law captured the Belmont Stakes (G1) in June.
The 1 1/8-mile Derby for 3-year-olds highlights a day of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $1.95 million in purses. Among the graded events is the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), the Derby’s 3-year-old filly counterpart, won in 2020 by Swiss Skydiver, who became only the sixth filly in history to capture the Preakness Stakes (G1) Oct. 3.
The Derby is the culmination of a rich and diverse stakes schedule for 3-year-olds during the Championship Meet that kicks off with the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Jan. 2 and continues with the $200,000 Holy Bull (G3) and $100,000 Swale (G3) Jan. 30, $350,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) Feb. 27, and $100,000 Hutcheson (G3) March 6.
Tiz the Law launched his sophomore season in the Holy Bull, a race that has produced a number of Grade 1 winners including Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby (G1) winners Always Dreaming (2017) and Barbaro (2016); Florida Derby winners Audible (2018), Dialed In (2011), Friends Lake (2004) and Harlan’s Holiday (2002); as well as Grade 1 winners Jackson Bend, Editor’s Note and Keen Ice.
Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby winners Orb (2013), Thunder Gulch (1995), Spectacular Bid (1979) and Tim Tam (1958) are among dozens of horses that have gone on to further graded success through the history of the Fountain of Youth, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2021.
Sophomore fillies also have a lucrative series on dirt to target, anchored by the Gulfstream Park Oaks and preceded by the $100,000 Cash Run Jan. 1, $100,000 Glitter Woman Jan. 2, $100,000 Forward Gal (G3) Jan. 30 and $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) Feb. 27.
Gulfstream’s 3-year-old turf stakes include the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy (G3) and $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) Jan. 30, $100,000 Palm Beach (G3) and $100,000 Herecomesthebride (G3) Feb. 27, and $100,000 Cutler Bay and $100,000 Sanibel Island March 27.
Among the major events scheduled for Gulfstream’s world-class turf course are the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) Dec. 12, $100,000 Tropical Turf (G3) Jan. 9, $150,000 W. L. McKnight (G3) Jan. 23, $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) Feb. 13, $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) and $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3) Feb. 27, and $200,000 Pan American (G2) and $100,000 Appleton (G3) March 27.
Graded turf stakes for older fillies and mares include the $150,000 Marshua’s River (G3) and $150,000 La Prevoyante (G3) Jan. 23, $100,000 Suwannee River (G3) Feb. 6, $150,000 Honey Fox (G3) and $150,000 The Very One (G3) Feb. 27, and $100,000 Orchid (G3) March 27.
For the ninth consecutive year, Gulfstream will play host to the $835,000 Claiming Crown on the Championship Meet’s opening Saturday, Dec. 5. The Claiming Crown, comprised of nine stakes races featuring the blue-collar horses that are the backbone of the racing industry, is highlighted by the $200,000 Jewel.
Florida-breds will be in the spotlight once again Jan. 16 with the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Day program featuring the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, which has produced such horses as Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Mucho Macho Man, multiple Grade 1 winner Lava Man and the popular 16-time career winner Best of the Rest.
The Championship Meet stakes schedule can be viewed at: gulfstreampark.com/championship-meet