Address: 901 Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
Meeting: Gulfstream Park operates nearly year-round, except for a brief two-month hiatus in the fall when racing shifts to its sister track Gulfstream Park West (formerly Calder Race Course). Due to its balmy climate, Gulfstream becomes a major hub for racing in the winter, and it is during this time that the Championship Meet is conducted, which spans from December until the end of March. The Championship Meet is headlined by the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby, which is the track’s local prep for the Kentucky Derby, as well as the newly created $9 million Pegasus World Cup and the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, which are both meant to attract the best racehorses from around the globe. The Championship Meet features dozens of other graded stakes with massive purses, and lucrative stakes dot the schedule for the rest of the year, as well, though they’re not as concentrated as they are during the winter.
History: Located in South Florida just north of Miami, Gulfstream Park opened in early 1939 and the inaugural meet lasted four days. From its humble beginnings, the track has become a year-round powerhouse in the sport, particularly in the winter, when many of the best horses and horsemen migrate to the track to take advantage of the warm climate. Countless stars have graced Gulfstream with their presence over the years. Perhaps the most famous race at the track occurred in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup, which Gulfstream was hosting for the first time, when Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Sunday Silence and Belmont Stakes winner Easy Goer clashed in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Gulfstream has since hosted the Breeders’ Cup two more times, once in 1992 and again in 1999. The elegant track has thrived under its current ownership, The Stronach Group, who have transformed it into a state-of-the-art facility, one very much worthy of the elite thoroughbreds that call it home.
Facilities: On top of the high-caliber, year-round racing Gulfstream offers, the track also boasts over 800 Vegas-style slot machines and a poker room with over 20 live-action tables. The grounds are also home to an open-air mall known as The Village at Gulfstream Park. Admission to the track is always free.