By Alan Carasso
Officials at Gulfstream Park announced that total handle for the spring/summer meeting at the Hallandale oval reached $603 million, an increase of $46.9 million over 2016 despite five fewer racing days. That total represented a 9% increase over the $556 million realized last year.
Daily average handle was $5.444 million, an increase of $639,678, or 12.5 percent, over 2016 when average handle was $4.801 million. Gulfstream raced 111 days this spring and summer compared to 116 in 2016.
This marks the third consecutive year total and daily handle has risen during Gulfstream’s spring and summer meets. In 2015, total handle was $490 million.
“It’s clear that Thoroughbred racing in Florida is being revitalized at Gulfstream Park by The Stronach Group as well as by the support of horsemen throughout North America and our great racing fans,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group. “We are now the third-most watched and wagered signal during the summer, and horsemen continue to see the benefits of racing year-round in South Florida. While we have done a lot these past three years, there’s still much to do and more to grow. We believe this is only the beginning. More horsemen have spoken to us about remaining in South Florida year-round or keeping a part of their stable at Gulfstream or our training center Palm Meadows. While we prepare for our Championship Meet beginning Dec. 2, we’re already looking at ways to improve our spring and summer race programs. We’re very excited about the future at Gulfstream Park.”
Tyler Gaffalione, the nation’s leading rider in total wins, swept the jockey title from Edgard Zayas and Emisael Jaramillo while Todd Pletcher and Victor Barboza won training titles.