HANA Exclusive Track Ratings – #4 Gulfstream Park
By Greg Reinhart
Located in Hallandale Beach, Florida, Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino finished in the fourth spot in the Horseplayers Association of North America's annual rankings of racetracks in North America.
Opened in 1939, Gulfstream Park has become one of the most recognized tracks in the world, and holds prestigious events such as the Donn Handicap and the Florida Derby. In 2004, Gulfstream was approved for slots, and the facility underwent significant remodeling, which was completed in 2006. Gulfstream features a one and one-eighth miles natural dirt course and a one mile turf course, and the track hosts racing annually from early January into the middle part of April. Gulfstream Park is also a member of the NTRA's safety and integrity alliance.
Gulfstream Park made a significant leap in the HANA rankings this year, going from 11th in 2009 to the fourth spot this year. One key to Gulfstream's appeal with bettors is its takeout, not the least of which on pick-6's, which is an industry low 15 percent. Combined with a decent pool size for Gulfstream's pick-6, this wager is among the most attractive on the continent. Outside of the 15 percent takeout on pick-6s, Gulfstream has a 17 percent takeout on win, place, and show wagers; a 20 percent takeout on exactas, pick-3s, pick-4s, and daily doubles, and a 25 percent takeout on trifectas and superfectas. Gulfstream also offers a 50-cent pick-4 and a 10-cent superfecta option, and it is regularly part of the Magna 5 pick-5 wager.
All these factors combined to give Gulfstream a takeout score of 2.75 and a grade of B- from HANA, which made Gulfstream one of only 13 tracks to grade out higher than a C when it comes to takeout. This was an improvement over last year when the track was given a takeout score of 2.375 and a grade of C+.
Due to the prestige and purses available at Gulfstream, field size is another key strength of the facility. In 2008 Gulfstream averaged 9.07 runners per field, and during 2009, that average bumped up slightly to 9.15. That compares favorably to the other tracks in HANA's top five and increases the track's appeal when looking for wagering options.
Another big feature of Gulfstream is its pool sizes, which rank amongst the highest in all of horse racing. Gulfstream contested 744 races last year, leading to a total in win, place, and show pool of $173,601,425 and an exotic pool total of $353,362,283. This meant that on a per-race basis, the average available of the entire pools was $707,396 with $233,335 of that in the win, place, and show pools and $474,061 in the exotic pools.
As far as availability to advance deposit wagering services and television/streaming video goes, Gulfstream is covered extensively by HRTV and its signal is under the tracknet umbrella, which scores low. This also means Gulfstream is available through Xpressbet, with streaming video as well. Gulfstream is also a wagering option on both Twinspires and Youbet, with streaming video offered. In Canada, HorsePlayer Interactive offers wagering and streaming video on Gulfstream, and Gulfstream appears frequently on one of HPITV's dedicated channels and its rotating channel.
When all of these factors were added by and calculated by the Horseplayers Association of North America's formula, Gulfstream received an overall score of 2.59 and an overall grade of B-. For comparison's sake, last year when Gulfstream ranked 11th, they received an overall score of 2.21 and a grade of C+.
To conclude, Gulfstream is clearly an attractive track to wager on, and that's why it received such a high score to place fourth in HANA's annual rankings. The best wagering feature is the pick-6 with the ultra-low 15 percent takeout. Gulfstream's field size and pool size is another its many strong features. The tracks' main drawback is its signal fee and distribution, being under the restrictive Tracknet umbrella..
For a summary of the methodology used to calculate the HANA Score, please click here.
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