Gulfstream Park opened its 2018-2019 Championship Meet with a record handle on the 20th edition of the Claiming Crown.
Total handle on the 11-race program was $13.612 million, smashing the previous Claiming Crown record set last year of $11.925 million, or 14 percent. Handle on the Claiming Crown has grown every year since Gulfstream starting hosting the event in 2012.
“We're extremely pleased with Opening Day,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “We received a lot of compliments about the improvements at our facility and we witnessed some memorable performances on track from our equine and human athletes. We want to thank our fans and horsemen for supporting Gulfstream and the Claiming Crown program. We're looking forward to the rest of our Championship Meet and next week's incredible big Clasico Internacional del Caribe.”
Trainer Jorge Navarro was a big winner Saturday, saddling the winner of three Claiming Crown races – Aztec Sense in the $200,000 Jewel, Misschief Maas in the $110,000 Glass Slipper and Salsa's Return in the $110,000 Iron Horse.
“Amazing day,” Navarro said. “I told my wife if we can win three races today it's a touchdown.”
Jockey Chris Landeros got the Championship Meet off to a good start as well, winning the $110,000 Glass Slipper aboard Misschief Mass, the $110,000 Rapid Transit with Rocket Heat, and the first race of the meet on Solar Kitten.
“It's special because it's so tough here,” he said. “You've got to come here prepared mentally and be ready. I'm looking forward to the meet and I'm very excited.”
Racing resumes Sunday with a 12:35 p.m. first race post.
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