Florida Derby Day Recap: Record Crowd, $24.7 Million Wagered

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Gulfstream Park continues to set records in its state-of-the-art facility. The latest record came Saturday when a crowd of 20,382 filled Gulfstream’s park, beach, lush gardens and restaurants to watch the Phipps Stable and Stuart Janney’s Orb win the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) and stamp himself as one of the favorites for the May 4 Kentucky Derby.

The record crowd of 20,382 surpassed the previous attendance record in Gulfstream’s facility of 18,224 set last year on Florida Derby Day.

Total handle on Gulfstream’s 13 races Saturday was $24.67 million, matching last year’s record handle of $24.69 million. On-track handle was $1.37 million, up 7.16 percent from last year.

“Florida Derby Day was an incredible experience,” said Gulfstream President Tim Ritvo. “From our Derby Day breakfast to the Derby undercard to Orb’s electrifying performance, Derby Day was very special. We continue to buck industry trends with our on-track handle and attendance figures. Obviously, without the horsemen, none of this is possible. Their support has been much appreciated and we are anxious to build our partnership with them throughout the year.

“The vision of our Chairman, Mr. Frank Stronach, has always been to build the sport of Thoroughbred racing in Florida while making it an exciting experience for the entire family. We see this vision coming true on a daily basis at Gulfstream Park. We will continue to build Gulfstream into a year-round destination throughout the summer and fall while continuing to gain valuable feedback from horsemen, fans and the local community.”

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  • THE ENFORCER

    DO NOT WANT TO BE NEGATIVE…BUT…

    “STATE OF THE ART FACILITY’– WHO DESCRIBES A FACILITY THAT DOES NOT HAVE PROPER SEATING FOR IT’S FANS….IN THAT FASHION???..GP IS NOT A TRUE RACETRACK..

    CONGRATS TO GP ON A BIG DERBY DAY..

    ANY WORD ON GP VS CALDER GOING HEAD TO HEAD??.. RITVO STATED GP’S YEAR ROUND OBJECTIVE.. WILL CDI/CRC CHANGE/CAVE/COMPROMISE??

    • Don Reed

      “State of the art facility” is standard boilerplate. Writers using it flunk the lie detector tests, routinely, during personnel interviews (if you pass the l.d.t.’s, you’re not hired).

  • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

    “With out the Horseman none of this would be possible”???…What about the GAMBLER$???…Please….

  • Kris

    I would love to make a visit to Gulfstream some day, however, until they build a proper grandstand I won’t consider a visit. People travel to Florida to escape the cold and for those Snow Birds that love horse racing, proper seating would seem to be a no-brainer.

  • PTP

    Horse racing after a record attendance and handle day:

    “Obviously, without the horsemen, none of this is possible. Their support has been much appreciated”

    What Wal Mart says after a record sales year.

    Obviously, without our loyal customers, none of this is possible. Their support has been much appreciated.

    Wal Mart growing, horse racing slowing.

    PTP

    • InsideThePylons

      Without horsemen, there is no show.

      As Arnold Zetcher, Chairman of the TOC once said….”And our owners, who provide the major part of the funding for our sport, must be recognized for their contribution.”

      Thanks horsemen…much appreciated

      Bettors can take it or leave….if they don’t like it, get lost

      • RayPaulick

        Before we read too much into this, let’s remember that Gulfstream and Calder will be fighting over horsemen in just a few months when the two tracks go head to head. Nothing wrong with a little pre-emptive appreciation to horsemen as the dates wars ramp up.

        • PTP

          Doublebaconater,

          No, nothing wrong with that at all. Nothing wrong with GM thanking the people who make the cars, Ray thanking Brad, or anything like that. But if Tim chooses to send out a PR highlighting attendance and the bet, it is somewhat perplexing he didn’t thank the people who were in attendance and bet.

          PTP

        • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

          True…But with out The Gamblers like The PR Advertisers there is NO SHOW!!!…ty…

        • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

          So True…But like your Advertisers Ray without the Gamblers/Punters there is No Show!!!…ty…

    • Bob C

      Maybe horse racing should follow Wal Mart’s example and import some cheap horses from China.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Twee/100000596714235 Jack Twee

    Why do you think President Tim Ritvo avoids discussing lowering the takeout with all that slot money?Obviously this would increase handle!

  • johnhenry1

    I was there as I have been there almost every year for the past 35 years. They did not have 20,000 fans. It was a lot closer to 10,000, trust me on this one. This facility is busting at the seams when it gets around 8000 people. It was a crime to knock down the old Gulfstream Park. Gotta love this new “state of the art” facility in which you cannot even watch the horses get tacked up.

  • Bob Hope

    how do they establish attendance figs when there is no paid admission?

    • InsideThePylons

      Programs sold X 2.5 + parked cars estimate + estimated add-on for non-driving attendees X 1.4 for more people travel together on weekends + Operations manager estimated add-on = Attendance figure

    • Don Reed

      Electronic detectors on both sides of Route One (next to guy hawking nudie clubs) counting cars going by; divide by 10 & then count empty peanut shells on the premises at 10 p.m. Triple-check the math & then throw all of it in the trash. Go ask Frank. Whatever number he gives you, you post.

  • Glimmerglass

    The handle is solid, but the boasting of 20,000 people on track is a wee bit embarrassing when you consider the Carolina Cup. Held on the same day they had just north of 50,000 at the Camden, SC course. That was a six race card with the largest field being 9 horses … then again you’d think it never happened with most of the TB media barely mentioning ‘chasing.

  • Don Reed

    OF COURSE it’s a record crowd. Each year, they figure out how to squeeze one more sucker into The Telephone Booth That Frank Built.

    How many people were standing on the steps, packed shoulder to shoulder? How many fire safety codes were violated? Which year will it be when a flash panic results in a deadly stampede on those steps?

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