The upgrades and innovations continue, as Gulfstream Park builds toward its 2021-2022 championship season, which amounts to $14.26 million in stakes purses on the line.
The Florida-based track has announced the following:
Total Stakes purse gets a raise
A total of 76 stakes races (37 graded) worth $14.260 million, will get off the ground December 3rd, 2021 to April 3rd 2022. That's a $1 million raise compared with the previous year's.
The Florida Derby: Back to $1 million
The Florida Derby (G1), a historical Triple-Crown prep race which has produced 15 Kentucky Derby winners, will run next year for a purse of $1-million once again. That's a $250K purse boost from last season's edition.
Six graded stakes will undercard the Florida Derby, plus four other non-graded stakes. The total purse for that day reaches $2.2 million. Two prominent features supporting the Florida Derby are:
Introducing the new Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf Stakes
On 2022 Pegasus Championship Day, we'll witness the inauguration of the $500K Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G3), which will co-headline the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) on January 29th, 2021.
The new race will be for older fillies and mares, traveling 1 1/16th miles on the grass, and will replace the Marshua's River Stakes (G3) from the old schedule. Over the past several years, the Marshua's River Stakes produced such winners as ZOFELLE, MAGIC STAR, BELLAVIUS, and ULTRA BRAT.
The Fountain of Youth Stakes gets $50K raise
The Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) will now run for $400,000 instead of the $350,000 from last season. It'll remain a 1 1/16th prep for the Florida Derby, scheduled for a March 5 program that features:
For a full listing of the planned stakes schedule, click here.
Note: there are no stakes scheduled for the newly installed Tapeta Course. However, as an all-weather racing surface designed to handle rain, the Tapeta will be implemented for stakes races transferred over from turf due to weather.
An Update on the Tapeta Course
The new Tapeta Course continues to receive positive responses from horsemen and locals. Perhaps the most interesting thing of it all was the variety of winners produced.
The first 17 winners racing over the new all-weather surface came from 17 different trainers.
Trainer Ron Spatz talked about how the Tapeta reminded him of the old Calder, in the sense that one runs the same kind of normal fractions down the backside.
"The further you go, you lose a second. That's the way Calder always was," Spatz said. "As long as they come back fine, that's great with me."
Jockey Samy Camacho, the two-time Oldsmar jockey champion and one of Gulfstream Park's top talents, had this to say of the Tapeta course:
"It's not the same, but Tapeta is a lot like turf. I like the track. You don't have to be on the lead on this track. You can wait for the stretch," said Camacho. "I think Gulfstream made a good change to have turf, Tapeta and dirt."
Source: Horse Racing Nation, Gulfstream Park Edited Press