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Sun Times Feature Story


Gulfstream Park is still a destination


Gulfstream Park rides the wave

December winter schedule is the perfect remedy for a sluggish economy

By Larry Blustein
sfsuntimes@aol.com
Since Gulfstream Park changed the winter dates into December a few years back, things really started to get interesting.

For decades, the first week of January was the official opening for the Hallandale Beach landmark. But like so many other things in south Florida, tourists started to arrive earlier - and the landscape of thoroughbred racing started to change - for the better.

As interest in the “Sport of Kings” started to decline, many tracks needed to get a boost from developers who were making the facilities more than a trip to the track to bet some races. What happened, especially with Gulfstream Park and Casino, is money was starting to be spent and ideas began to flow.

The long-awaited multi-use facility started to take shape - and through plenty of trial an error - things began to take shape.

With Gulfstream Park opening its winter racing schedule this Saturday, Dec. 3, it truly promises to be one of the best meets the facility has ever had.

In addition to several stakes races that are held in high regard in the racing community, and the prestigious Florida Derby, things will be very interesting this racing season - with more things going than ever before.

Mike Reed has been coming down to south Florida for 23 years from his home in upstate New York. Nobody has watched the change more than this avid

racing fan, who now brings his family with him for a month-long visit.

“Since my heavy work season is during the summer back home, I get the chance to come here and spend a month,” Reed said. “I am a huge racing fan, but my wife never wanted to come - because I spend all of my time doing what I love.”

Because many of the shops and restaurants and other entertainment options - as well as the casinos have now offered a major destination, Reed and others are taking full advantage of a Gulfstream property that is pretty much has a reputation around the world.

At a time when having many choices at one location is the way that many businesses are headed, Gulfstream and the Stronarch Group have been at the cutting edge for years.

Since 1939, Gulfstream Park has been one of the most important venues for horse racing in the country. Some of the world’s top thoroughbred contenders pass through Gulfstream Park with their eye on Triple Crown glory.

Breakfast at Gulfstream Returns Opening Day
Breakfast at Gulfstream, a popular South Florida tradition that allows visitors of all ages to meet horsemen and jockeys, watch Thoroughbreds working out and take a tram ride through the barn area, returns Saturday, Dec. 3 on Opening Day of Gulfstream Park's Championship Meet.

Opening Day at Gulfstream features the $1.1 million Claiming Crown. First race post time is noon. Admission and parking is free. Jockey Edgard Zayas, leading jockey of the recently-completed Gulfstream Park West meet, is the scheduled guest. Former jockey Abby Fuller will once again host Breakfast at Gulfstream.

Breakfast at Gulfstream, located in the north Tiki, runs from 8-11 a.m. The breakfast buffet, including scrambled eggs, buttermilk biscuits, pancakes, bacon, sausage links, potatoes, French toast and coffee is $9.99. Kids under three eat free. While watching Thoroughbreds working out, guests can mingle with trainers and jockeys and have the opportunity throughout the morning to take a tram ride through Gulfstream's barn area.

There will be no Breakfast at Gulfstream or tram tours on December 24, 2016 and January 28, 2017. There ?will ?be Breakfast at Gulfstream on April 1, 2017 but no tram tours will be offered.

more information go to: http://www.gulfstreampark.com/racing/breakfast-at-gulfstream

Championship Meet Gift Days and More
Saturday’s opening day will feature the $1.1 million Claiming Crown and includes the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and $1 million Florida Derby, which will provide fans with 11 Gift Days ranging from a Pegasus Holiday Ornament, tote bag, beach towel, t-shirt to the popular musical bottle opener.

The Gift Days begin Opening Day with a free wall calendar and microfiber cloth keychain. Gifts will be handed out at the North and South entry points beginning at 12 p.m. while supplies last.

First race post time Opening Day is noon.

Gift Days during Gulfstream's Championship Meet through Sunday, April 2.

• Saturday, December 3 (Opening Day): Free 2017 Wall Calendar and Microfiber Cloth Keychain. No purchase required. Location: North and South entry points beginning at 12 p.m. while supplies last.

• Saturday, December 10: Gulfstream Park Pegasus Ornament in Velvet Pouch. Gift with Purchase of a Handicapper Program, Daily Racing Form, or Ten Palms Buffet. Location: Breezeway 1-3 p.m. while supplies last.

• Sunday, January 1: Racing Collage Tote Bag. Gift with Purchase of a Handicapper Program, Daily Racing Form, or Ten Palms Buffet. Location: Breezeway 1-3 p.m. while supplies last.

• Saturday, January 14: Musical Bottle Opener. Gift with Purchase of a Handicapper Program, Daily Racing Form, or Ten Palms Buffet. Location: Breezeway 1-3 p.m. while supplies last.

• Sunday, January 22: Pegasus Picnic Blanket. Gift with Purchase of a Handicapper Program, Daily Racing Form, or Ten Palms Buffet. Location: Breezeway 1-3 p.m. while supplies last.

• Saturday, February 4: Holy Bull Long Sleeved T-Shirt: Gift with Purchase of a Handicapper Program, Daily Racing Form, or Ten Palms Buffet. Location: Breezeway 1-3 p.m. while supplies last.

• Saturday, February 18: Ladies Day Surprise. Gift with Purchase of a Handicapper Program, Daily Racing Form, or Ten Palms Buffet. Ladies only. Location: Breezeway 1-3 p.m. while supplies last.

• Saturday, February 25: Jockey Photo Tumbler. Gift With $10 minimum donation to PDJF. Autographed 2017 Jockey Poster. Free. No purchase required. Location & Time: TBA

• Sunday, March 5: Oversized Beach Towel. Gift with Purchase of a Handicapper Program, Daily Racing Form, or Ten Palms Buffet. Location: Breezeway 1-3 p.m. while supplies last.

• Saturday, March 25: Florida Derby 2017 Commemorative Glass. Gift with Purchase of a Handicapper Program, Daily Racing Form, or Ten Palms Buffet. Location: Breezeway 1-3 p.m. while supplies last.

• Sunday, April 2: Retractable Umbrella with Sleeve. Gift with Purchase of a Handicapper Program, Daily Racing Form, or Ten Palms Buffet. Location: Breezeway 1-3 p.m. while supplies last.

In addition to thoroughbred racing, Gulfstream Park offers over 800 Vegas-style slot machines and south Florida’s finest poker room with over 20 live action tables.

The Village Has Taken Over
Anchored by the legendary Gulfstream Park racetrack, The Village at Gulfstream Park is South Florida's premier home design, dining, shopping and entertainment destination.

The open air mall includes a plethora of signature home stores, an international array of restaurants, world-class art galleries, a bowling alley, outdoor cafes and nightclubs, fashion boutiques, and health and beauty services.

Throughout the year, locals and tourists alike can spend the day enjoying an assortment of events including live music, kid-friendly activities, and in-store classes and workshops.

“The best thing about Gulfstream Park are the options they have for dining and shopping,” Hollywood resident Lucille Tamargo pointed out. “I don’t think I ever watched a race there until last year’s Florida Derby, but now I take all my friends to spend the day - and we have a lot of fun.”

Symphony of Lights
Gulfstream Park’s popular holiday tradition, Symphony of Lights, returned last Friday, featuring a 50-foot tree decorated with thousands of lights synchronized to holiday music, and an array of free entertainment for the whole family, including selfies with Santa and Mrs. Claus and train rides. Symphony of Lights will run nightly through December 31st from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., with light shows every hour on the hour.

The complete schedule of activities for the 2016 season of Symphony of Lights is as follows:

Santa & Mrs. Claus, toy soldiers, juggling acts and stilt walkers will have appearances every Friday and Saturday thru December 24th.

Catabella Express Train Rides will be available to take children on a tour of Gulfstream Park and will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the following dates:
Friday, December 16th
Saturday, December 17th
Friday, December 23rd
Saturday, December 24th