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Gulfstream Park enjoys 2nd highest Florida Derby handle in 66 Years

Gulfstream Park: Second Highest Florida Derby Handle in 66 YearsHALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s 66th running of the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) produced a total handle of $30.614 million, the second highest ever in Florida Derby history and the third largest handle at Gulfstream Park excluding Breeders’ Cups.
 
Total handle on Saturday and Sunday of Florida Derby Week was a record $48.792 million compared to $40,457 million in 2016. Sunday’s handle of $18.177 million was helped by a mandatory Rainbow 6 payout in which $7.3 million was wagered.
 
The Florida Derby, which has produced 43 starters who have gone on to win 58 Triple Crown events, including 23 Kentucky Derby (G1) winners, was won by Always Dreaming, who provided trainer Todd Pletcher with a record fourth Florida Derby victory.
 
The total Florida Derby handle Saturday was second only to last year’s Derby, which produced a total handle of $32.082 and eventual Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist. The largest handle in Gulfstream’s state-of-the-art building is $40.2 million, handled Jan. 28 of this year on the inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the richest horse race in the world.
 
Just five years ago, total handle on the Florida Derby program was $24.657 million.
 
“Obviously, you always want to do better than the year before, but we’re happy with the way things went Saturday,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group and General Manager of Gulfstream Park. “The most important thing was our jockeys and horses all came back safe and sound and our fans had a great time. Last year we had two undefeated colts in Mohaymen and Nyquist, the two top Triple Crown contenders on both coasts, and we weren’t competing against another Triple Crown prep race.
 
“We think several horses will come out of Saturday’s races and have continued success. We want to thank horsemen who supported our Saturday program and our fans for coming out and enjoying a great Florida tradition. We’re now looking forward to our spring and summer meet, which begins Wednesday.”

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