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Aug 24, 2007

Major change in Gulfstream stakes schedule


Hallandale Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Gulfstream Park's 2008 stakes schedule has been released with a significant change affecting the races for three- year-olds. The South Florida track will begin live racing on January 3.

The $1 million Florida Derby remains the major stakes race on the road to the Kentucky Derby, however, there is a major change in the order of the prep races. The Florida Derby will be held on Saturday, March 29, but is no longer the last major race for three-year-olds at Gulfstream.

The $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes has been moved to Saturday, April 12 from its traditional role as a prep for the Florida Derby. Along with the change in date the Holy Bull has been lengthened to 1 3/16 miles from one mile.

"In making a few adjustments to the Holy Bull," said Bernie Hettel, racing manager, "which has been one of our most attractive and competitive races, we give owners and trainers the opportunity to compete for graded-stakes money just a few weeks before the Kentucky Derby. While their horse may not be ready to take on the best at a mile and an eighth the last Saturday in March, there is the possibility that, after racing in the Holy Bull, it will blossom to take on the best the first Saturday in May."

The Holy Bull will take place three weeks before the Kentucky Derby. The $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes will be run on Sunday, February 24, five weeks before the Florida Derby. Both the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby are ran at 1 1/8 miles.

The first stakes race for Kentucky Derby hopefuls will be the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes at seven-furlongs on Saturday, January 5. The $150,000 Swale Stakes, also at seven-furlongs, is set for Saturday, February 2.

Other major stakes for 2008 at Gulfstream Park are the $500,000 Donn Handicap on Saturday, February 2, the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap on Saturday, March 1 both for older thoroughbreds and the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Turf on Saturday, February 23.

Sunshine Millions Day will be Saturday, January 26. The eight race series carries purses worth $3.4 million. Gulfstream and Santa Anita Park each host four events on a rotating basis: This year Gulfstream will host the Turf and the Distaff, each worth $500,000; the $300,000 Sprint, and the $250,000 Dash.

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