Gulfstream Park 2020-21 Championship Meet Begins

Posted By Fairway Jay on December 2, 2020 - Last Updated on December 7, 2020

The Gulfstream Park 2020-21 Championship Meet begins today, and the four-month winter meet runs through March 28. The Wednesday through Sunday racing schedule has its first post time at 12:35 p.m. ET, with most stakes races on Saturday including all of the premium stakes races.

That includes the $3 million Pegasus World Cup on January 23, 2021, which will likely have top 3-year-old and Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law running. Tiz the Law also won the Travers before finishing second as the favorite in the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

The January 23 premium stakes schedule will include another Grade 1 race in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf. Five other graded stakes races will run on January 23, making it one of the biggest stakes weekends of the meet.

A number of Kentucky Derby prep races for 3-year-olds are again part of the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet, including:

  • Jan. 30 – $200,000 Holy Bull (Grade 3) – 1 1/16 miles
  • Feb. 27 – $350,000 Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) – 1 1/16 miles
  • March 27 – $800,000 Florida Derby (Grade 1) – 1 1/8 miles

Kentucky Oaks prep races are also being run at Gulfstream for 3-year-old fillies, and include:

  • Jan. 30 – $100,000 Forward Gal (Grade 3) – 7 furlongs
  • Feb. 27 – $200,000 Dav0na Dale (Grade 2) – 1 mile
  • March 27 – $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (Grade 2) – 1 1/16 miles

The Championship Meet stakes races begin with the first major event on Saturday, Dec. 5 with nine Claiming Crown races. That program is for horses that have started for a claiming price at least once during the past two years.

The featured race is the $150,000 Jewel at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. The following Saturday, Dec. 12, features five stakes, four of them graded, including the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

GULFSTREAM PARK 2020-21 CHAMPIONSHIP MEET UPDATES

Gulfstream Park was one of the few racetracks to remain open when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sports world in March of 2020. The Hallandale Beach, Florida track will provide racing for the Championship Meet again without fans or spectators in the grandstand, and the meet also has reduced purses and fewer stakes races with the elimination of some minor stakes.

But Gulfstream Park’s vice president of racing operations, Mike Lakow, said, “I’m very optimistic we’re going to have a banner meet,” noting that all the barn areas at Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream West and Palm Meadows are completely full.

One of the country’s top track announcers, Pete Aiello, will call the races again at Gulfstream Park. The Championship Meet will include top riders looking to unseat two-time defending meet champion Irad Ortiz Jr. Other top riders include John Velazquez, Jose Ortiz, Luis Saez, Edgard Zayas, Javier Castellano, Edgar Prado and Tyler Gaffalione.

Top trainer Todd Pletcher will be seeking his 17th Championship Meet title. having won top trainer honors again last year.

On Saturday, Nov. 28, nearby Gulfstream Park West closed for good, following nearly 50 years of racing. The track was formerly called Calder Race Course.

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