Gulfstream Park shattered total handle records during its 89-day Championship Meet, highlighted by The Stronach Group's innovative $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1).
Total handle during the Championship Meet was $957 million, eclipsing last year's record of $867 million by 10.4 percent. Handle including total simulcast was $1.021 billion. On-track handle was up $3.9 million.
The Jan. 27 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the world's richest race won by Horse of the Year Gun Runner, handled a record $41.9 million. That record was broken on Florida Derby Day when total handle was $49.9 million.
Gulfstream also become the first par-mutuel facility outside Latin America or the Caribbean to host the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, featuring horses from countries in the Confederacion Hipica del Caribe competing in five stakes races, including the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe.
“The Championship Meet was an extraordinary 89 days of world-class racing, exceptional dining and incredible events,” said Gulfstream Park General Manager Bill Badgett. “We want to thank the fans who witnessed many of the world's greatest equine athletes and jockeys and we want to thank the horsemen and owners from around the world for supporting our meet.
“The Stronach Group is creating an entirely new way to experience the races while embracing generations of new fans through world-class entertainment and events. We look forward to our Spring/Summer meet and building on our year-round program and preparing for another memorable Championship Meet in 2018-2019.”
Audible's victory in the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby highlighted an afternoon of seven stakes (five graded) worth $2.3 million. Audible will now attempt to become the 25th Florida Derby winner to win the Kentucky Derby (G1). Audible could also become the fourth Florida Derby winner in six years to win the Run for the Roses.
For the second consecutive year the Pegasus attracted the world's best Thoroughbreds. Just two days after being named Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards held at Gulfstream, Gun Runner ran away from 11 others to win the Pegasus.
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