Gulfstream Sees Strong Handle Growth-By Jim Freer

Hey Bernie and Gino, “Save South Florida Racing” from what? Do you
two nuts really expect to improve on what Gulfstream Park has done this past
year? All-sources handle would be up 8.7% and live handle would be up 16.9%.
Gulfstream began its meet by raising average daily
overnight purses to $235,000 from last year’s $219,000, On March 4, it raised
those purses another 10% to $258,500. Beginning March 26, it is increasing its
Florida Owners Awards by 20%.


For years all you two a-holes have done is make accusations about the
FHBPA, Sammy Gordon and Gulfstream Park, yet they have bucked the national trend
for three years and all you nuts can come up with is complaints. What say you


Gulfstream Sees Strong Handle Growth


Gulfstream Sees Strong Handle Growth

Updated: Sunday, March 27, 2011 1:35 PM
Saturday, March 26, 2011 10:08 AM

The popularity of new multi-race bets and the
advantages that come from warm and dry weather have put Gulfstream Park on track
for a third straight annual increase in all-sources handle and for double-digit
growth in live handle.

Gulfstream’s daily average all-sources handle was
$7.5 million through March 23, the 58th day of its 2011 meet, according to
officials of the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track. For last year’s full 79-day meet
all-sources handle averaged $6.9 million, they said.

Daily average on-track handle was $618,000 through
March 23. That handle averaged $529,000 for all of last year.

Other handle breakdowns and year-to-date comparison
numbers through 58 days of the 2010 meet were not readily available.

Gulfstream will end its 79-day meet April 24. If the
betting pace continues, all-sources handle would be up 8.7% and live handle
would be up 16.9%.

Gulfstream’s closing weeks, when many top trainers
have gone back to Kentucky or New York, are traditionally its lowest in

But Gulfstream officials are optimistic that full
2011 handle averages could be close to those through March 23.

“Our numbers so far do not include Florida Derby day,
which was held early last year (March 20),” said Gulfstream president and
general manager Steve Calabro.

Gulfstream this year has scheduled the $1 million
Florida Derby (gr. I) for April 3—a rare Sunday date for its biggest race. It
will have three other graded stakes on April 3.

The schedule change includes a Ladies Day program on
April 2, with two of Gulfstream’s biggest distaff races. The $300,000 Gulfstream
Park Oaks (gr. II) is for 3-year-old fillies and was previously called the
Bonnie Miss. The $150,000 Rampart (gr. II) is for fillies and mares 4-years-old
and up.

“It will be the biggest and best racing weekend South
Florida has ever had,” Calabro said.

Gulfstream’s new 2011 bets are a 10 cent-only Pick 6
and a 50-cent minimum Pick 5, both on each day’s final races. The Pick 6 has a
20% percent takeout and the Pick 5 has a 15% takeout.

“We introduced these bets thinking they would offer
more value for the average bettors and enable them to spread out their betting,
and we are above expectations,” said Tim Ritvo, vice president of racing at
Gulfstream and of East Coast racing operations for Gulfstream’s parent MI

The Pick 6 has a jackpot feature, paying out the full
pool and carryover only if there is just one winning ticket. On other days, 40
percent of the day’s bets and carryover goes back into the pool. There have been
four days with one winning ticket, with the largest at $221,000.

Over 58 days, $2.5 million has been bet on the Pick
6. In 2010, full-meet betting was $1.7 million on Gulfstream’s standard $2
minimum Pick 6. Through March 23, $7.9 million had been wagered on the Pick 5.
Even with the new bets there have been no declines on other wagers, Calabro

“The good weather also has helped our handle,” Ritvo

The 2010 winter was one of the coldest and rainiest
on record in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. This year, average temperatures
have been above normal and rainfall has been so low that local governments have
tightened water restrictions for homeowners and some businesses.

Amid those conditions, Gulfstream ran 220 turf races
through its first 58 days this year compared with 186 for the same period in
2010. As expected, the larger number of turf races has helped handle on-site and
at other tracks and ADWs.

Gulfstream began its meet by raising average daily
overnight purses to $235,000 from last year’s $219,000, On March 4, it raised
those purses another 10% to $258,500. Beginning March 26, it is increasing its
Florida Owners Awards by 20%.

In an amendment to its original stakes schedule,
Gulfstream on April 24 in conjunction with the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’
and Owners’ Association will have two Florida Thoroughbred Charities Stakes. The
stakes are for Florida-breds sired by stallions standing in Florida and
registered with the Florida TBOA whose seasons have been offered at Florida
Thoroughbred Charities Auctions.

For the second straight year, Gulfstream will have
the $75,000 Capital Request at 1 1/16 miles on dirt for fillies and mares
3-years-old and up and the $75,000 Island Whirl will be 1 1/16 miles over turf
for 3-year-olds and up.

“We have nothing but praise for what Gulfstream has
done last year and this year,” said Richard Hancock, FTBOA executive vice

Upcoming Events
After Gulfstream opened its new building in 2006,
long betting lines have been a problem on Florida Derby days and some other
major days.

Gulfstream has 123 live teller stations. At the start
of its 2011 meet, it increased its number of automated terminals from 130 to

“We will add 40 more terminals for Florida Derby
weekend,” Calabro said.

As part of its April 2 Ladies Day, Gulfstream will
have several events in conjunction with local affiliates of Susan G. Komen for
the Cure, the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, and other organizations to raise
money for breast cancer research and other women’s health issues.

On the final three Fridays of its meet, Gulfstream
will move its first post from 12:55 p.m. to 3 p.m. The later starts will be on
April 8, April 15, and April 22—with nine-race cards scheduled to end around
6:55 p.m.
A Florida law prohibits Thoroughbred racing after 7 p.m. Gulfstream
and MID are hoping that the Florida legislature will end that restriction during
its session that ends May 6. As of March 24, there are no bills introduced that
include that change. If the law is amended, Gulfstream would be eligible to have
post-7 p.m. racing during its 2011-2012 meet that will begin Dec. 3.

When asked if Gulfstream might install lights at the
end of its current meet, Ritvo said: “Corporate (MID) is looking at it. We will
run our cards that start at 3 p.m. on the Fridays and look at the numbers before
making any decisions.”

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