What to know for the 2019-2020 Gulfstream Park winter racing season

Yes, the winter racing season is upon us, and the best winter race meet already is ready to roll at Gulfstream Park, with the 2019-20 Championship meet opening on Friday.

The Gulfstream season, which will continue until March 29, will feature the best trainers, jockeys, grass horses and stakes races in action at this time of year, making it a must-bet track for all serious horseplayers and handicappers for the next several months.

RELATED: Brisnet At a Glance from the end of the 2018-2019 winter meet

What Gulfstream Park races should I watch for?

The Gulfstream Park winter meet contains several key 3-year-old prep races leading up to the Florida Derby (G1), which will be run on March 28. And of course, the meet also will feature the $9 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) scheduled for January. 25.

The Gulfstream meet customarily begins with horses shipping to Florida from all over the East and Midwest to join the cream of the local crop that has been competing at Gulfstream and Gulfstream Park West during the rest of the year.

Gulfstream Park trends and class

Generally speaking, the shippers from places like Kentucky and New York often have a class edge versus the local horses, especially in allowances races, but that is not always automatically the case anymore with competitive horses at nearly all levels being sent out by South Florida local trainers. This is especially true early in the Gulfstream meet until early January when the big guns from the top national stables begin arriving in force for their winter seasons, perhaps, for many, once they have a prep under their belts.

The middle part of the Gulfstream Park meet is when the premier action really heats up. January ushers in the time when the out-of-town barns come to life as the quality of racing elevates to its highest level of the year in South Florida. The Gulfstream racing in January, February, and March is the best there is during the winter months. The Gulfstream Championship meet will encompass nearly 100 stakes.

Gulfstream Park running styles

The prevailing running style preference in Gulfstream dirt races tends to favor horses with early speed, or at least tactical speed, at all distances. Deep closers generally don’t do well on this main track, and inside posts and rail-skimming trips are usually not an advantage in one-turn races. Gulfstream dirt sprints and miles tend to favor outside paths, while Gulfstream two-turn races favor inside posts and paths. Gulfstream’s one-turn mile races play much more like sprints than like other route races which are run around two turns (i.e. mile races play much closer to the track’s 7-furlong races than to 1 1/16-mile races).

Gulfstream Park post positions

In terms of favorable post positions, Gulfstream features differing preferences on the main track in both sprints and routes. Some of the prime golden rules at Gulfstream Park are to stay away from outside posts in main track two-turn routes – anything outside post 6 – and to stay away from far inside posts in dirt miles. Don’t bet the rail horse in any one-turn race at 6 1/2 furlongs or longer because that post shows terrible win percentages and ROIs for the last decade.

Gulfstream Park turf racing

Now let’s move to the grass, where a large part of the action takes place each winter at Gulfstream. Unlike on the dirt, a horse’s chances of success on the Gulfstream turf are based more on running style than post draw. More so than any other racetrack, it seems to be most difficult to go wire-to-wire at Gulfstream in turf routes (including 7 1/2-furlong races, which are statistically often lumped in with turf sprints, but play like routes, not sprints). The only time it’s advisable to bet speed horses in Gulfstream turf routes is when the turf rails are placed significantly out from the rail on the outside oval. The track announces the turf rail positions every day, so do yourself a favor and pay attention.

In turf sprints, speed plays totally the opposite. The 5-furlong sprints are dominated by speed horses, or at least horses that can stay within a length or two of the early lead. It is extremely difficult for horses to have any success in these turf dashes from far off the pace from the back half of the field. In terms of posts, the rail Post 1 is not great at 5 furlongs on the turf, but the other inside posts 2-4, as well as pretty much any post position in the gate, are all OK.

Have a great Gulfstream winter season. Put Gulfstream Park at or near the top of your wagering menu from now until the spring, and you are bound to do well by following these simple tips and trends to help you win at the winter’s best race meet. Best of luck, and enjoy!

Gulfstream Park At a Glance for 2018-2019 winter season

Avg. Winning Odds: 5.26 – 1
Favorite Win%: 37%, Favorite Itm%: 70%
Daily Double90.90
Pick 3957.08
Pick 44,346.26
Pick 520,064.06
Pick 6 Jackpot311,589.03
Super High Five5,285.20
Z-5 Super Hi-514.00
TRACK BIAS MEET(12/01 – 03/31)
Distance #
Race %
Wire Best
Style Best
Posts 6.0fDirt 189 38% E Rail/Ins 7.0fDirt 80 26% E Middle 1 MileDirt 160 24% E Rail/Ins 1 1/16mDirt 38 18% E Rail Turf Sprint 148 35% E Rail Turf Routes 283 15% P Rail/Ins
TRACK BIAS WEEK(03/25 – 03/31)
Distance #
Race %
Wire Best
Style Best
Posts 6.0fDirt 6 67% E Rail/Ins 7.0fDirt 7 57% E Middle 1 MileDirt 8 25% E/P Middle 1 1/16mDirt 3 0% E/P Middle Turf Sprint 3 33% S Inside Turf Routes 15 20% E Rail/Ins

Who’s HOT, Who’s NOT

HOT TRAINERSStartsWinsPlaceShowAvg.
’18-‘ 19
Servis Jason 53202.36233%
Crichton Rohan 63103.62121%
Delgado Gustavo 732112.99020%
Plesa, Jr. Edward 22002.90018%
Clement Christophe 32003.40218%
Azpurua, Jr. Eduardo 420017.80013%
Brown Chad C.62102.58227%
Cibelli Jane 62018.45018%
De La Cerda Armando 620119.00116%
HOT JOCKEYSStartsWinsPlaceShowAvg.
’18-‘ 19
Velazquez John R.164233.97220%
Landeros Chris 1231121.07111%
COLD TRAINERSStartsWinsPlaceShowAvg.
’18-‘ 19
Garoffalo Jose 1000113.2916%