The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, which has become one of sport’s most prestigious and exciting days, and the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), which has produced the winners of 59 Triple Crown events, highlight Gulfstream Park’s 2019-2020 Championship Meet beginning Friday, Nov. 29. The Claiming Crown will highlight the meet’s second weekend on December 7.
The Championship Meet, which has attracted the world’s top horses, horsemen and jockeys since 1939, will have 98 stakes races – including 39 graded – for total stakes purses of $28.6 million.
Along with the Pegasus and Florida Derby, Gulfstream will once again be the hub of racing events during the Championship Meet, hosting the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, Claiming Crown, and the 49th annual Eclipse Awards.
“Beginning with Opening Day Friday, Nov. 29, Gulfstream will for four months play host to world-class racing, the sport’s elite horsemen, major industry events and thrilling, innovative entertainment happenings,” said Gulfstream Vice President Bill Badgett. “The Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, and the festivities surrounding it, have become one of the sport’s most popular events, and the Florida Derby has been a leader in producing winners of Triple Crown races. With international events like the Pegasus World Cup, Eclipse Awards and the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, The Stronach Group continues to modernize the sport. We are looking forward to a memorable Championship Meet.”
In just three years, the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series has attracted the sport’s biggest stars, including champions Arrogate, Gun Runner and California Chrome, as well as City of Light and international stars Magic Wand, Aerolithe and Kukulkan.
In all, Pegasus World Cup Day will feature nine stakes – six graded – for total purses of more than $17 million.
Since its 2017 debut the $9 million Pegasus World Cup (G1), for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, has attracted the sport’s biggest stars including 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, 2014 and 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome, 2016 Longines World’s Best Racehorse Arrogate, and Mexico’s undefeated Triple Crown winner Kukulkan.
Pegasus World Cup Day has also become one of sport’s premier events and a celebrity-filled happening, with appearances by Mark Ronson, Pharrell Williams, Olivia Culpo, Snoop Dogg, Bella Thorne, Post Malone, Lenny Kravitz and Prince Royce to name a few.
Last year’s inaugural running of the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) attracted an international field including Japan’s Aerolithe and Ireland’s Magic Wand.
The $1 million Florida Derby (G1), the country’s leading classic prep race that has produced 44 starters who have gone on to win 59 Triple Crown events, will be held March 28 and will be part of a Derby Day with seven stakes – four graded – with total stakes purses of $1.950 million. One of those four stakes will be the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), the 3-year-old filly counterpart to the Derby.
The Derby will culminate a rich and diverse stakes schedule for 3-year-old classic contenders beginning Jan. 4 with the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man and continuing Feb. 1 with the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) and $150,000 Swale (G3), the Feb. 22 $100,000 Hutcheson (G3), and Feb. 29 $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2).
The Holy Bull has produced a number of Grade 1 winners including Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winners Always Dreaming (2018) and Barbaro (2006), Florida Derby winners Audible (2018), Dialed In (2011), Friends Lake (2004) and Harlan’s Holiday (2002), as well as Grade 1 winners Jackson Bend, Editor’s Note and Keen Ice, to name a few.
The Fountain of Youth has produced dozens of graded winners of the past 73 years including Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby winners Orb, Thunder Gulch, Spectacular Bid and Tim Tam.
The Gulfstream Park Oaks will be the final race in a lucrative 3-year-old filly series on dirt which begins Jan. 4 with the $75,000 Glitter Woman and continues with the Feb. 1 $150,000 Forward Gal (G3) and Feb. 29 $200,000 Davona Dale (G2).
Gulfstream will also offer 3-year-old turf stakes, including the Jan. 4 $100,000 Ginger Brew, the Feb. 1 $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3), the Feb. 29 $150,000 Herecomesthebride (G3) and the March 28 $125,000 Sanibel Island.
Gulfstream’s world-class turf course will host a number of major events for 3-year-olds and up beginning in December with the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) going 1 1/8 miles Dec. 14, as well as six turf stakes scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 28.
Other graded turf races for 4-year-olds and up include the $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) and $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3) Feb. 29, the $100,000 Appleton (G3) March 27 and $250,000 Pan American (G2) March 28.
Graded turf stakes for older fillies and mares include the $150,000 Suwannee River (G3) Feb. 8, the $150,000 Honey Fox (G3) and $150,000 The Very One (G3) Feb. 29, and the $100,000 Orchid (G3) March 28.
The Clasico Internacional del Caribe, featuring the top horses from Latin America and the Caribbean, returns for the third consecutive year on Sunday, Dec. 8. The five stakes, totaling $690,000 will be highlighted by the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe for 3-year-olds.
For the eighth consecutive year, Gulfstream will play host to the $1.11 million Claiming Crown on Saturday, Dec. 7. The Claiming Crown, made up of nine stakes races, will be highlighted by the $200,000 Jewel.
The $600,000 Sunshine Millions, featuring the leading Florida-breds, will be contested Saturday, Jan. 18 with the feature being the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, a race whose past winners include Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Mucho Macho Man, multiple Grade 1 winner Lava Man, and the popular Best of the Rest.
The first Saturday of the Championship Meet will feature six stakes for 2-year-olds totaling $450,000.