Highlights Include Arrogate Winning Inaugural Pegasus World Cup (G1) Always Dreaming Wins 66th Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1)
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – It was a winter to remember at Gulfstream Park.
Bringing together the top horses and horsemen for a winter program of world-class racing highlighted by the inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby, Gulfstream’s total handle for the 87-day meet was a record $867 million.
Gulfstream’s total handle for its 2016-2017 Championship Meet was up 7.34 percent from last year’s record total handle of $807 million.
“The Championship Meet was extraordinary for its mix of world-class racing, events and entertainment,” said P.J. Campo, General Manager of Gulfstream Park and Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group, parent company of Gulfstream Park. “From a record-setting Opening Day with the Claiming Crown to the Eclipse Awards to the first running of the Pegasus to the Florida Derby, Gulfstream was the center of the racing world. To have horses like California Chrome, Arrogate, Always Dreaming, Gunnevera, Mind Your Biscuits and so many others here competing was very special.
“We want to thank our fans for participating and continuing to inform us of ways we can serve them better. We also want to thank horsemen for supporting our program. While we continue to race through the summer, we’re already preparing and looking forward to another outstanding 2017-2018 Championship Meet that will feature the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the Eclipse Awards and, for the first time ever, the Clasico Internacional del Caribe.”
After setting a record handle on Opening Day on the 18th running of the Claiming Crown, the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) drew one of racing’s most anticipated match-ups between Horse of the Year California Chrome and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Arrogate. It was Arrogate – crowned Longines World’s Best Racehorse earlier in the month – who galloped away to a 4 ¾ length victory in a race televised by NBC and attended by A-List celebrities. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational program generated a record $40.2 million total handle. , The Pegasus crowd was entertained by Thomas Rhett, male vocalist of the year at the recent Academy of Country Music Awards, and Grammy nominee Trombone Shorty.
Gunnevera, who sold for only $16,000 as a yearling to South Florida-based trainer Antonio Sano, became a popular local favorite with his victory in the Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth.
Trainer Todd Pletcher not only claimed his unprecedented 14th consecutive training title at Gulfstream’s Championship Meet but his third Florida Derby in four years when he saddled the lightly-raced Always Dreaming to victory in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby. Jockey Luis Saez won his first riding title at Gulfstream with 102 victories. Saez joined four-time titlist Javier Castellano and Paco Lopez as the only jockeys to win 100 or a more races during the Championship Meet.