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A major race will be inaugurated, and a significant purse increase for a tradition-rich Triple Crown prep will be introduced in Gulfstream Park's 2021-2022 Championship Meet stakes schedule.
A total of 76 stakes (37 graded) worth $14.260 million, more than $1 million than the previous year, will be run during the prestigious winter meet that will get underway Dec. 3 and run through April 3.
The $500,000 Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G3) will debut on the January 29th program that will be co-headlined by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up, and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 4-year-olds and up on turf.
The 1 1/16-mile turf event for older fillies and mares, which will replace the Marshua's River (G3) on the new schedule, will be one of seven graded stakes worth $5.2 million on a World Class Thoroughbred racing program that will be supported by high-end entertainment, cutting-edge fashion, and fine dining.
Purses for all 3-year-old stakes on Gulfstream Park's Road to the Triple Crown have been increased, most notably the 70th running of the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) on April 2. The historic 1 1/8-mile stakes, which has produced the winners of 60 Triple Crown races, will be renewed for a purse of $1 million, a $250,000 increase over last season.
The Florida Derby will be supported by six graded stakes, including the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and the $200,000 Kitten's Joy Pan American (G2), a 1 ½-mile turf event for older horses. Total purses for 10 stakes races on Florida Derby Day will be $2.2 million.
The Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) will be renewed for $400,000, up from last season's purse of $350,000, on a March 5 program that will feature nine graded-stakes. The 1 1/16-mile key prep for the Florida Derby, will be supported by three other Grade 2 stakes, including the $200,000 Davona Dale, a mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies; the $200,000 WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile (G2), a mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up; and the $200,000 Mac Diarmida, a 1 3/8-mile turf event for older horses.The Mucho Macho Man, a mile race for 3-year-olds, will kick off Gulfstream's Road to the Triple Crown Jan. 1 with a $50,000 purse increase to $150,000. The Holy Bull (G3), a 1 1/16-mile stakes for Florida Derby and Triple Crown hopefuls, will be renewed Feb. 5 with a $400,000 purse, a $50,000 increase over last season. The Holy Bull will be supported by the $100,000 Claiborne Swale (G3), a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds; the $100,000 Forward Gal (G3), a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies; the $100,000 Kitten's Joy (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds; and the $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies.
The Claiming Crown, the nine-race event for the blue-collar horses that have run for claiming prices, will be held for the 10th consecutive year at Gulfstream Park Dec. 4. The $125,000 Jewel, the 1 1/8-mile headliner for 3-year-olds and up, was won last season by Jesus' Team, who went on to finish second behind Knicks Go in the Pegasus World Cup.
The first multi-graded-stakes program is scheduled for Dec. 13, featuring the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2), a 1 1/8-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up. The card with five graded stakes will also include the $150,000 Harlan's Holiday (G3), 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds and up that received a $50,000 purse increase; the $100,000 Rampart (G3), a mile race for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up; the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G3), a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up; and the $100,000 Suwannee River (G3), a mile turf event for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up.
In addition to the Pegasus World Cup, Pegasus World Cup Turf, and the Pegasus F&M Turf, the Jan. 29 program will offer four other graded stakes - the $200,000 Inside Information (G2), a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares; the $150,000 William L. McKnight (G3), a 1 ½-mile turf race for 4-year-olds and up that received a $50,000 purse boost; the $150,000 La Prevoyante (G3), a 1 ½-mile turf race for older fillies and mares; and the $150,000 Fred W. Hooper (G3), a mile event for 4-year-olds and up.
The Florida Derby Day program will offer 10 stakes for a total of $2.2 million in purses. In addition to the Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park Oaks and the Kitten's Joy, graded-stakes action will include the $100,000 Ghostzapper (G3), a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up; the $100,000 Appleton (G3), a mile turf race for 4-year-olds and up; and the $150,000 Orchid (G3), a 1 ½-mile turf event for older fillies and mares that received a $50,000 purse boost.
There are no stakes scheduled for the newly installed Tapeta course, but the all-weather racing surface will be employed in the event stakes are transferred from the turf due to inclement conditions.
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