Gulfstream Park Race Track

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Gulfstream Park Track Facts

  • Address: 901 South Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
  • Phone: (954) 454-7000
  • Website: www.gulfstreampark.com
  • Racing Seasons: July to October; December to May
  • Main track (dirt): 1 1/8 mile oval
  • Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 898 feet
  • Composition: 85.5% sand, 14.5% clay
  • Width of stretch: 90 feet
  • Turf: 1 mile, inside turf track
  • Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 990 feet
  • Composition: Sandy loam, 75% sand, 25% clay, and Celebration Bermuda grass is grown directly into the base.

Gulfstream Park 2023-2024 Stakes Schedule

DATE
RACE
PURSE / RESTRICTIONS
DISTANCE / SURFACE
Monday, Dec 2, 2024
In Reality Div. (FL Sire Stakes)
$300,000 / 2YO
1 1/16 M / Dirt
My Dear Girl Div. (FL Sire Stakes)
$300,000 / 2YO / F
1 1/16 M / Dirt
Monday, Dec 9, 2024
Pulpit
$100,000 / 2YO
7 1/2 F / Turf
Wait A While
$100,000 / 2YO / F
7 1/2 F / Turf
Monday, Dec 16, 2024
H. Allen Jerkens Hdcp.
$100,000 / 3YO&UP
2 M / Turf
Monday, Dec 23, 2024
Tropical Park Derby
$125,000 / 3YO
1 1/16 M / Turf

Gulfstream Park History

Gulfstream Park first opened on Feb. 1, 1939, hosting a four-day meet that attracted a crowd of more than 18,000 people who wagered $220,000. John C. Horning, a building contractor, was the chief stockholder.

In December 1944, the track was re-opened by James Donn for a 20-day meet with an average crowd of 4,500. The average handle in wagering was $281,000. This success brought the Gulfstream Handicap to the track in 1946 and the Florida Derby in 1952, as well as the building of a clubhouse and the expansion of grandstand seating. In 1961, James Donn was succeeded by his son, James Donn Jr., who became president of Gulfstream Park Racetrack.

This change also brought an enlarged grandstand and the installation of the world's largest totalisator board in the infield. In ensuing years, a new media box was built, the paddock was enlarged and completely renovated, the stable capacity expanded, and a new odds board unveiled.

By 1981, Gulfstream was the first Florida track to break the $100-million wagering mark with a state record of $103,531,722 for the 50-day winter season. The para-mutuel record wagering was also set in this season, reaching $4,090,109. In 1982, a multimillion-dollar facility improvement began and would last for the rest of the decade.

In the '90s, milestones continued at Gulfstream as the Donn Handicap played host to Cigar, one of the all-time greatest race horses. Gulfstream Park broke records in wagering handle, in excess of $825.3 million during its 89-day season in 2003.

Gulfstream Park Racetrack commenced a $130-million renovation that brings modernization to the clubhouse and grandstand, and the installation of slot machines. The elaborate renovation also adds a 1 1/8-mile dirt oval and 1-mile turf oval.

Additional Gulfstream Park Information

Gulfstream Park, located in the Miami-area community of Hallandale Beach, is the premier winter racing venue on the East Coast. It regularly attracts the top stables from New York, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Canada during the first quarter of the year.

The track first opened in 1939, but it was not until the Donn family purchased Gulfstream in the mid-1940s that the track began operating on sound financial footing. Through 1971 it held the so-called “late dates” among the three Miami tracks, racing roughly 45 days in March and April.

After various court challenges, Gulfstream was awarded the “prime dates” (mid-January through early March) for the first time in 1972. It alternated hosting these dates with Hialeah until 1988, when Gulfstream took permanent possession of them.

The racing season at Gulfstream has expanded greatly in the past quarter-century. While the prime season, now called the “Championship Meet,” runs from December through March, Gulfstream now hosts racing at least 10 months out of the year.

Since the early 1950s, Gulfstream’s signature race has been the Florida Derby, one of the key preps for the Triple Crown. The 1 1/8-mile event is now run five weeks before the Kentucky Derby. Other preps leading up to the Florida Derby are the Fountain of Youth and the Holy Bull.

The Gulfstream Park Handicap was once the track’s leading stakes for older horses, but has been supplanted in prestige by the Donn Handicap, a nine-furlong event held in early February. It is generally the first Grade 1 event of the year for four-year-olds-and up.

After several changes in ownership during the 1990s, Gulfstream was purchased in 1999 by an entity operated by Frank Stronach, who continues to head the track.

Gulfstream’s look and identity changed in the first decade of the 21st century when the track and its facilities were completely overhauled and redesigned. The main track was expanded from a mile to nine furlongs, and the turf course was widened to enable racing over multiple lanes.

The grandstand itself was torn down and re-built to a smaller scale. In line with Stronach’s vision of making Gulfstream an entertainment destination, the facility now houses a casino, shopping mall, and various restaurants and nightclubs.

The Breeders’ Cup was held at Gulfstream in 1989, 1992, 1999, most famously hosting the fourth and final showdown between Hall of Famers Sunday Silence and Easy Goer in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Since the track’s facilities were downsized, it has not been widely viewed as future Breeders’ Cup host site.

Grass racing was introduced at Gulfstream in 1959, and the track now hosts approximately 17 graded stakes on the expansive course at various distances for horses of all ages. The premier grass event is the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, a nine-furlong event typically run on the same day as the Donn.

Other major events held at Gulfstream include the Sunshine Millions and the Claiming Crown, a lucrative series of starter allowances that attract the best claiming performers from around the country.