Gulfstream Park's spring meet, which concluded Friday, showed record increases in total and average handle for the second consecutive year.
Total handle on Gulfstream's races for the meet was $312 million, a 13-percent increase while surpassing last year's record of $276 million and the 2015 total of $246 million.
Average handle also continued rise, climbing to $5.3 million after being $4.6 million in 2016 and $4.2 million in 2015.
“We continue building and rejuvenating year-round racing in Florida,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group and General Manager of Gulfstream Park. “We continue to see more horsemen staying year-round in South Florida or leaving horses here year-round. This is helping build a better product while allowing us to field large, competitive fields. We appreciate the support of horsemen as well as the support from fans and bettors.
“We want to keep pushing ahead. We kicked off our summer meet with an incredible Summit of Speed program Saturday afternoon. Come Tuesday we expect some 15,000 people to come to Gulfstream for Freedom Fest, our special holiday program and a fireworks show. We're also excited about this year's Florida Sire Stakes and the great 2-year-olds we'll get to see develop here throughout the next three months.
Some of the more memorable moments of the spring included:
o Todd Pletcher, who has won an unprecedented 14 consecutive titles during the Championship Meet, capturing the spring training title while Tyler Gaffalione won the jockey's title.
o Several 2-year-olds preparing for the summer's lucrative Florida Sire Stakes including Florida Fuego, who ran away from her opponents June 24 to win by five lengths.
o Longtime horseman Manny Azpurua, who passed away June 11, was honored by his nephew Leo Azpurua Jr., just four days later when he saddled Somethingelse to win the $100,000 Ginger Punch.
o The 20-cent Rainbow 6 swelled to $5.5 million June 17 and returned multiple winners $26,761.18.
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