Gulfstream Park Horse Racing
Dec 2019

Gulfstream Park: Racing’s Must-Watch Winter Venue

by Jen Perkins in Features category

If it is cold, gray and dreary where you live in the winter, the racing cure is to log onto your online account and watch free streaming video from Gulfstream Park. Located in South Florida, Gulfstream offers warm sunny weather, graded stakes races, top Thoroughbreds and one of the best bets in racing, making it one of the top winter meets to watch and play each year.

Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream is located in Hallandale Beach in Broward County, Florida, just north of Miami. Though it isn’t quite as near the coast as Del Mar in San Diego, it is certainly close enough to get a taste of the Atlantic Ocean and the quintessential South Florida beaches.

Gulfstream first opened in 1939 and held a four-day race meet; it reopened in 1944 and ran 20 days that year. Over the next 20 years, the track began to grow, adding a new clubhouse, a turf track and new stakes races. It even had the world’s largest tote board at the time it was built in 1961.

The track has changed hands over time and has seen many remodeling efforts. It is adjacent to an upscale outdoor shopping mall, and the design of the open-air walking ring attracts casual fans from the mall and provides entertainment for nearby restaurants.

The track runs nearly year-round, but the best racing takes place during the Championship meet, usually spanning the first week of December through the end of March.

The trademark of Gulfstream is the Pegasus, represented as a 110 feet bronze statue outside of the track. The Pegasus statue is the world’s largest equine statue and is the second-largest statue in the United States behind the Statue of Liberty.

The track hosts forty graded races, including three Grade 1 events each year.

Rainbow Pick 6

Gulfstream is known for its weather, graded stakes, and racing festivals, but one reason that so many horsemen flock to play its races is due to the Rainbow Pick 6.

The Rainbow Pick 6 is like other Pick 6 wagers across the country in that it requires the player to correctly pick the winners of six consecutive wagers. However, there is a twist. The Rainbow is a jackpot wager, meaning that some of the money paid into the wager is paid out to players each day, but some of the money is reserved in a jackpot. The jackpot is only paid out when there is a single winning ticket.

As the meet goes on and bettors play the Rainbow each day, the jackpot continues to grow until it is paid out. When it is hit, the jackpot is paid out and starts to rebuild on the following race day.

If no one has hit the jackpot and the end of one of the race meets is approaching, there will be a mandatory payout of the jackpot, so all winning tickets will get a share of the jackpot, resulting in higher than usual payouts.

If you are the lucky winner of the Rainbow Pick 6, you may see a payout of tens or hundreds of thousands, or a life-changing seven-figure score.

The Rainbow Pick 6 only costs $.20 to play and can be played on track or through any online betting service provider. Open a free account at Xpressbet, whose parent company also owns Gulfstream and runs promotions on the track, or at TVG or Twinspires. All three options offer free accounts, free streaming video, and you can play directly into on-track pools such as the Rainbow Pick 6. They’ll even give you free money to get started.

Notable Events

Great weather and even better wagering aside, Gulfstream is also home to major racing events throughout the year. The action heats up from December through March with multi-million dollar races, racing festivals, and key Kentucky Derby prep races.

Pegasus World Cup Invitational

Gulfstream Park is home to the Pegasus World Cup, one of the richest races in the world. The race was first held on January 28, 2017, featuring a $12 million purse that surpassed the $10 million purse that was offered in the Dubai World Cup.

The Pegasus is open to horses who are four years of age or older. Because all Thoroughbreds turn another year older on January 1st, this race can attract horses that were 3-year-olds the previous year, including horses from the Kentucky Derby trail.

The race is contested over the main dirt track at 1 1/8 miles and is a Grade 1 race.

Though the inaugural running was held for a purse of $12,000,000, it was increased to $16 million for the 2018 running, but was reduced to $9,000,000 for the 2019 running. 2019 also featured a new race, the $7,000,000 Pegasus Turf Cup.

The Pegasus World Cup is unique in that owners of farms purchase a spot in the gate for a cool $1 million and then decide what horse to enter. Or, they can sell their share, or part of it. Though it is not uncommon for owners to put some money into a major race (hence the name, stake), it is unusual to let the connections decide what horse to run rather than horses being invited or selected based on performance, conditions or other criteria.

Kentucky Derby Preps

Gulfstream figures prominently on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with three important and popular Kentucky Derby prep races: the Holy Bull, the Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby. Of the three, the Florida Derby (G1) offers 100 points to the winner, guaranteeing the winner a spot in the gate on Derby Day.

There are six prep races that offer 100 points to the winner; of the six, the Florida Derby has produced the most Kentucky Derby winners. Since it was first held in 1952, the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida has produced 15 horses that continued to win the Kentucky Derby.

From 2013 through 2018, three of the six Kentucky Derby winners also won the Florida Derby: Always Dreaming in 2017, Nyquist in 2016, and Orb in 2013, giving bettors a 50% chance that the winner of the Kentucky Derby would be the horse that won the Florida Derby.

In 2019, the same held true – almost. Maximum Security won the 2019 Florida Derby before becoming the unofficial and controversially disqualified winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Clasico Internacional del Caribe

Given its location in South Florida and proximity to the Caribbean, Gulfstream is the perfect host site for the Clasico Internacional del Caribe festival features the Clasico del Caribe, also known as the Caribbean Derby. The Clasico del Caribe is a Grade 1 stakes race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds. Traditionally, the event has been held throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, but since 2017, it has found a new home at Gulfstream Park each December.

The Clasico Internacional del Caribe includes four other stakes races: the Caribbean Sprint Cup, the Caribbean Ladies Classic, the Confraternity Cup and the Copa Invitacional del Caribe. Take the opportunity to become familiar with a few major names in the Latin American racing world, because Clasico del Caribe day at Gulfstream can yield serious payouts, especially in the Rainbow Pick 6.

Sunshine Millions

Florida-bred Thoroughbred racehorses can compete for their share of $1.3 million each year in the Sunshine Millions festival. Each January, six stakes for different sexes and surfaces are offered exclusively to Florida-breds in one of the best state-bred racing festivals of the year.

The festival originally began in 2002 and used to be held concurrently at Gulfstream and Santa Anita Park in California; however, now the festival focuses on state-bred races at Gulfstream. You can catch a card of smaller stakes on Sunshine Millions Preview Day, typically in November, and get an edge on your handicapping as many of the same horses will return to compete in the bigger stakes in January.

Breeders’ Cup

Gulfstream has also played host to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships three times in the history of the event. It has not been the host site since 1999, but it was home to several top moments in Breeders’ Cup history, including the final showdown between Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Sunday Silence and Belmont Stakes winner Easy Goer in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Claiming Crown

The Breeders’ Cup celebrates the best stakes horses in the world, but the racing industry also likes to celebrate the working class horses each year in the Claiming Crown.

The Claiming Crown is a day-long racing festival for horses who have started in a claiming race. Though we pay the most attention to stakes races and million-dollar horses, most races in the country are claiming races. In a claiming race, each horse can be purchased, or claimed, from a race for a price set in advance.

The claiming prices help create competitive races where horses can be grouped together based on skill and experience, and some people use the races to buy or sell horses. Often, horses in claiming races are a small step below stakes horses, though sometimes a horse may be claimed and started in a stakes race, or a former stakes race may compete in claiming races later in their career.

Multiple graded stakes winners Lava Man, Charismatic and Maximum Security each ran in claiming races early in their careers, among many others.

The annual event began at Canterbury Park in 1999, where it has been held ten times. It has also been hosted at Parx Racing near Philadelphia, Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky, and the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. For the last eight years, the event has been held at Gulfstream Park in the first week of December.

Escape winter, watch current and future champions and take a chance at the Rainbow Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park!

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