Recently Completed Fall Turf Festival has Total Handle of $143 Million
Gulfstream Park West’s Fall Turf Festival is an important part of rebuilding year round racing in Florida. And the recently completed 44-day fall meet built the momentum heading into Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet that begins this weekend. The handle was up 10.33 percent over last year during the Fall Turf Festival, and total handle at Gulfstream West was $143 million compared to $130 million in 2016.
There was three additional days of racing at this year’s fall meet that included an additional 20 races, but a rainy fall season resulted in 58 races taken off the turf and 14 fewer than 2016 and 46 fewer than 2015.
Gulfstream Park West, located eight miles west of Gulfstream Park at Calder Race Course, is being operated by the management of Gulfstream Park. Gulfstream is leasing the racing facility as part of a six-year agreement with Churchill Downs. Gulfstream has rebranded the racing facility, and since taking over operation of the boutique fall race meet, total handle has climbed from $58 million in 2012 – the last year Calder ran unopposed – to $143 million.
The 89-day Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park begins Sat., Dec. 2 with the $1.1 million Claiming Crown Day program. A total of 9 stakes are part of the 11-race card. The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) on January 27 headlines the Championship Meet as the world’s richest horse race, along with the $1 million Florida Derby on March 31, which is a major prep race for the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown.
Other highlights of the Championship Meet include the $600,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe program Dec. 9, the first time the event has been held in North America since its 1966 inception. Also, he 47th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony is being hosted in Sport of Kings Theater at Gulfstream for the sixth straight year Jan. 25.