Gulfstream Park Kicks off Championship Meet Dec. 2

The $1.1 Million Claiming Crown Program Highlights Opening Day of $28.5 Million Stakes Schedule

The 89-day Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park begins Sat., Dec. 2 with 19th renewal of the $1.1 million Claiming Crown Day program. Gulfstream Park is host for the 6th consecutive year, and a total of 9 stakes with purses of $100,000 and up are part of the 11-race card. The Championship Meet at Gulfstream has evolved into one of the world’s most spectacular sporting events. Covering 18 weekends of racing, 13 of them will have Super Saturday’s featuring between 3 and 12 stakes races.

A partnership between the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Claiming Crown was envisioned to be the claiming horse owner’s Breeders’ Cup; a special racing event, created for the sometime-forgotten “average owner,” and featuring some of the most competitive horses in the country. Every horse owner, regardless of the level at which their stable competes, has an equal chance to participate, as the Claiming Crown is open to all claiming horses irrespective of where they were foaled or race.

A record $28.5 million stakes schedule is headlined by the world’s richest race, the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) on Saturday, Jan. 27. Arrogate won the inaugural event in 2016. Many horses running during the Championship Meet will end of competing at Churchill Downs for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup.

The $1 million Florida Derby (G1) is the centerpiece of Gulfstream’s 3-year-old program, and this year’s big Kentucky Derby prep is scheduled for March 31. Three of the last five Florida Derby winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, including Always Dreaming in 2016. The Florida Derby card will also include four Grade II events on March 31:

  • $300,000 Gulfstream Mile
  • $250,000 Gulfstream Oaks
  • $250,000 Honey Fox
  • $250,000 Pan American

Several preps lead up the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby, including:

  • $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Jan. 6
  • $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) Feb. 3
  • $200,000 Swale (G2) Feb. 3
  • $100,000 Hutcheson (G3) March 24
  • $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) March 3.

Other notable races during the Championship Meet include:

  • $200,000 Forward Gal (G2) Feb. 3
  • $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) March 3
  • $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) Feb. 10
  • $200,000 Royal Delta (G2) Feb. 19
  • $200,000 Inside Information (G2) March 17
  • $600,000 Sunshine Millions Saturday, Jan. 20 

The turf schedule also includes:

  • $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) Jan. 13
  • $200,000 W.L. McKnight (G3) Jan. 27
  • $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) Feb. 10
  • $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3) March 3
  • $250,000 Pan American (G2) March 31.

Races for older females on the turf include:

  • $100,000 My Charmer (G3) Dec. 16
  • $150,000 Marshua’s River (G3) Jan. 13
  • $200,000 La Prevoyante (G3) Jan. 27
  • $150,000 Suwannee River (G3) Feb. 10
  • $150,000 The Very One (G3)
  • $100,000 Sand Springs March 3
  • $250,000 Honey Fox (G2) March 31.

Also, the $600,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe program Dec. 9, the first time the event has been held in North America since its 1966 inception. Also, he 47th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony is being hosted in Sport of Kings Theater at Gulfstream for the sixth straight year Jan. 25.

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