Gulfstream’s 2021-2022 Championship Meet Opens Friday

December 2, 2021

 Pulpit, Wait a While Kick off $14.26 Million Stakes Schedule

 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series Slated for Jan. 29

$1 Million Curlin Florida Derby Scheduled for April 2

Trainer Todd Pletcher, Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. to Defend Titles

  Watch and Wager on Saturday’s Clasico del Caribe Races

 HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 2021-2022 Championship Meet will commence Friday at Gulfstream Park with an 11-race program starting at noon, featuring two stakes races and a most welcome return of many of the country’s leading Thoroughbreds, owners, trainers and jockeys.

Friday’s $75,000 Pulpit and the $75,000 Wait a While, mile turf stakes for 2-year-olds and 2-year-old fillies, respectively, will kick off a $14.26 stakes schedule that will include 37 graded stakes among 76 stakes to be run during the Championship Meet that will run through April 3.

The $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) will be renewed on Jan. 29, joined by the newly created $500,000 Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf Invitational (G3) on a day with seven graded stakes that annually showcases World Class racing, entertainment, fashion and dining.

The $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1), a Triple Crown Prep rich in tradition, will to highlight an April 2 program with 10 stakes, including six graded stakes. The purses for the Florida Derby preps, the $150,000 Mucho Macho Man on Jan. 1, the $250,000 Holy Bull (G3) on Feb. 5, and the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) on March 5, all received purse increases.

All stakes are scheduled to be contested on dirt or turf, although in the event of inclement weather, stakes will be transferred from turf to the newly installed all-weather Tapeta surface, which made its well-received debut during the Fall Meet.

Maiden special weight and optional claiming allowance purses during the Championship Meet have also been increased by $8000 over last season’s levels.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who will have horses stabled at Palm Beach Downs and Gulfstream, will be on a quest to win an unprecedented 19th Championship Meet title after topping the standings with 58 victories in 2020-2021. The Hall of Fame trainer has saddled a record six winners of the Florida Derby, including last year’s victor, Known Agenda,

Irad Ortiz Jr. will seek his fourth-straight Championship Meet riding title after winning a record 140 races at Gulfstream last season. The defending three-time Eclipse Award winner teamed with Pletcher last season to win the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational with Colonel Liam and the Florida Derby with Known Agenda.

The 20-cent Rainbow 6, the popular multi-race wager that has produced jackpot payoffs as high as $6.6 million, will continue to be a staple of the Championship Meet wagering menu. Friday’s six-race sequence will span Races 6-11, including the Wait a While in Race 6 and the Pulpit in Race 10.

The Mark Casse-trained duo of Lemieux and Palmach, both coming off convincing victories over the Tapeta course, will clash with seven other juvenile fillies in the Wait a While.

Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Eldon’s Prince will chase his third straight stakes victory in the Pulpit, which attracted a field of 12 juveniles, including Red Danger, the winner of Kentucky Downs’ $250,000 Juvenile Sprint on turf and most recently, runner-up in the Street Sense stakes over Churchill’s main track.

The $810,000 Claiming Crown, an event with nine starter stakes that rewards Thoroughbred’s blue-collar horses, will be held on Saturday. The Clasico del Caribe, an annual championship event for horses based in Latin American and Caribbean countries, will be simulcast at Gulfstream Saturday and Sunday.

                                                                        Gulfstream Park Championship Meet

When: Dec. 3 through April 3, 2022

WhereUS1, Hallandale Beach, FL

What: World-class Thoroughbred racing Wednesday through Sunday in a venue with restaurants, shops, and entertainment and home of Pegasus World Cup Day and Florida Derby Day.                           

Opening Weekend Dec. 3-5

Friday, Dec. 3: The Championship Meet kicks off Friday with 2-year-olds featured in the $75,000 Wait a While and $75,000 Pulpit Stakes.

Saturday, Dec. 4: The first of 18 big Saturdays includes a major racing event and the first giveaway of the season. Nine stakes races make up the 23rd renewal of the Claiming Crown featuring many of racing’s most popular horses. It’s also the day to pick up your free Gulfstream Park wall calendar, distributed at the north and south entry points.

                                                December Highlights

 Saturday, Dec. 18: There’s five graded stakes races on tap, including two races that have served as preps for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1). The Fort Lauderdale (G2), over a 1 1/8-mile turf course, has produced Pegasus Turf starters Largent, Channel Cat, Admission Office and Cross Border while the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track has provided a path to the Pegasus World Cup for Tax, War Story and others. Three other stakes this day include the Rampart (G3), Sugar Swirl (G3) and Suwannee River (G3), which will now serve as a prep for the inaugural $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G3).

Sunday, Dec. 26: It’s the final Derby of the year, the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby, for 3-year-olds on the turf. The companion race for 3-year-old fillies will be the $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks.

Friday, Dec 31: It’s New Year’s Eve and Gulfstream’s program includes three turf stakes, two for sprinters and one for those wanting a distance. The $100,000 Abundantia and $100,000 Janus will both be contested over five-furlong turf courses while the $100,000 Via Borghese tests fillies and mares going 1 3/8 miles.

                                                            Looking Ahead

 Jan. 1, 2022: Six $100,000 stakes races including the first race on the road to the Florida Derby (G1), the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man for newly turned 3-year-olds.

Jan. 29, 2022: The eyes of the sports and entertainment worlds will be focused on Gulfstream for Pegasus World Cup Day, featuring seven stakes races worth more than $5 million highlighted by a possible match between defending champion and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Knicks Go and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Life Is Good in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1).

February 5, 2022: The $250,000 Holy Bull (G3) is a key prep race for the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby(G1)and its one of five-graded stakes races on the afternoon including the Forward Gal (G3) for 3-year-old fillies.

March 5, 2022: The final prep race for the Florida Derby, the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2), highlights a great afternoon of racing with nine graded stakes races and total purses of more than $2 million.

April 2, 2022: It’s the $1 million Florida Derby, a race that has produced the winners of 46 Triple Crown events. Derby Day also features the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), a key prep for the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and eight other stakes, six graded.

Gulfstream Park Press release and photo

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