2018-2019 Championship Meet stakes schedule at Gulfstream Park $29m in purses
The 2018-2019 Championship Meet stakes schedule at Gulfstream Park will feature a record 105 stakes worth a record $29.079 million in purses, headlined by the blockbuster Jan. 26 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, featuring the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and the $7 million Pegasus World Turf Cup (G1), the richest stakes on dirt and turf in North America.
The 68th running of the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), the prolific Triple Crown prep race for 3-year-olds, will be run on a March 30 program with seven stakes, four graded.
The third running of the Pegasus World Cup, a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up, was won last year by 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner. The Pegasus Turf Cup, formerly the Gulfstream Park Turf, will be contested by 4-year-olds and up over 1 3/16 miles on turf. The two Grade 1 attractions will be supported by seven stakes, including the $200,000 La Prevoyante (G3), $200,000 W. L. McKnight (G3), the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) and the $150,000 Fred Hooper (G3).
“We’re thrilled to expand the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series into a multi-race event with the addition of a turf race. Entering just our third year, we’re excited about the future of this series and the interest we are getting from horsemen around the world,” Stronach Group Chief Operating Officer Tim Ritvo said. “The Stronach Group will continue to build on our major events as Chairman and President Belinda Stronach continues to think of ways to innovate our sport. With major events like the Pegasus and Clasico Internacional del Caribe, Gulfstream’s Championship Meet is becoming a major influence on the world stage.”
The Florida Derby will again highlight Gulfstream’s heralded program for 3-year-olds. Three of the last six winners of the 1 1/8-mile marquee event have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby (G1). The Florida Derby, which has produced the winners of 59 Triple Crown races, will headline a program with seven stakes worth $2.15 million, including the $300,000 Gulfstream Mile (G2), $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) for 3-year-old fillies and $250,000 Pan American (G2).
The Florida Derby Weekend will begin Friday, March 29 with four stakes, including the $100,000 Orchid (G3), $100,000 Skip Away (G3) and $100,000 Appleton (G3).
The $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2), the key 1 1/16-mile Florida Derby prep race, will top a remarkable program with nine graded stakes worth $1.65 million March 2, including the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) for 3-year-old fillies, $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2), $150,000 Honey Fox (G3), $150,000 The Very One (G3), the $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3), $150,000 Palm Beach (G3), $150,000 Herecomesthebride (G3) and $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3).
The 3-year-old program will kick off with the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man, a one-turn mile that will be contested Jan. 5. The $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) at 1 1/16 miles will be on the Feb. 2 program that will offer four other graded stakes for 3-year-olds, including the $150,000 Swale (G3) at seven furlongs and $150,000 Forward Gal, a seven-furlong sprint for fillies. The $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) for fillies and the $100,000 Dania Beach (G3) will both be contested at a mile on turf.
“This is truly going to be a memorable Championship Meet. There really is a major event every weekend and there will be world-championship racing every day and major events like the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, Florida Derby, Eclipse Awards and, on opening day, the Claiming Crown,” Gulfstream Park General Manager Bill Badgett said. “Once again, Gulfstream’s Championship Meet will have the world’s top horses, horsemen and jockeys. We invite everyone to come out and take part in what will be an incredible Thoroughbred meet.”
The nine-race $1.1 million Claiming Crown, featuring the $200,000 Jewel, will once again open the Championship Meet Dec. 1. The graded-stakes portion of the 2018-2019 stakes schedule kicks off Dec. 15 with five $100,000 graded stakes: the Harlan’s Holiday (G3), Rampart (G3), Sugar Swirl (G3), Tropical Turf (G3) and My Charmer (G3).
The Pegasus Turf Cup will be the centerpiece of an extensive stakes schedule on turf that will offer 33 stakes, 11 graded, during the Championship Meet, not including several starter stakes slated on turf.
Gulfstream will once again offer the best in world-class racing, dining and events throughout the Championship Meet that will run from Dec. 1 through March 31. Along with Pegasus World Cup Day and Florida Derby Day festivities, Gulfstream will roll out the red carpet once again Jan. 24 when it hosts the prestigious Eclipse Awards for the seventh consecutive year. Gulfstream Park will welcome back the $700,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe Dec. 8 after becoming the first facility outside Latin America and the Caribbean to host the program of five stakes for horses from eight Latin American and Caribbean countries, highlighted by the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe for 3-year-olds. The popular Sunshine Millions, featuring the $200,000 Classic, will be held Jan. 19.
The entire schedule can be viewed by clicking here.