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Dec 17, 2010

American Turf Club Lead

By: Joe Girardi


            Next week we will write our annual wish list for the upcoming year 2011. There have been many things that we can look forward towards next year and things that need to change within the horseracing industry.

            This past week was a sad week in racing as Hall of Fame trainer Mackenzie “Mack” Miller died at the age of 89. Mack Miller and Paul Mellon’s Rokeby Stable was a fixture on the New York circuit for many years. I remember as a youngster growing up coming to the racetrack every weekend how I admired Mack Miller and his runners. My favorite horse back then was WINTER’S TALE an older handicap horse that was one of the best around before the advent of the Breeders’ Cup. Mr. Miller had so many good horses, many of which that were able to run over the turf and the dirt. FIT TO RIGHT, WHO’S TO PAY, JAVA GOLD and SEA HERO just to name a few. SEA HERO, the 1993 Kentucky Derby gave Miller and Mellon their first and only Kentucky Derby.

            For many years his barn was the most respected around New York not an easy task in this competitive market. They did everything right, from how they raced their horses to how their grooms dressed. They were a throwback to the days when racing ruled the back pages. One of the best jockeys of all time, Jerry Bailey, a rider who rode many winners for Miller had this to say of his passing. "Mack was a great, great horse trainer, but an even better human being," said Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who rode Sea Hero to win the Derby. "All I have about him is kind words. He was like a second dad away from home for me. There are probably quite a few characters on the racetrack, but for me, as an impressionable young man in New York at 25, my hooking up with Mack was probably the best thing that ever happened to me."

            A Hall of Fame inductee in 1987, the same year his JAVA GOLD defeated older horses in the Whitney Handicap and then followed that up a few weeks later with a win in the prestigious Travers Stakes. I feel like part of my childhood has gone away now because I remember the days of going to the racetrack and watching his horses run. My condolences go out to his family.

            Moving on to Gulfstream Park and their opening day on January 5th. This year Gulfstream will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Florida Derby, the highlight of their meeting every year and a big part of the East Coast trail to the Kentucky Derby.

            Gulfstream will host 45 stakes, 33 graded stakes races for a total purse of $8 million. The big race of the meeting is the Florida Derby moves from $750,000 to $1 million. The meeting will carry more than $30 million in purses for the meet and an increase in overnight purses of approximately 15 percent.

            The new VP, East Coast Racing for MI Developments Inc. is former trainer Tim Ritvo. He was quoted as saying   “You’ll find the stakes schedule at Gulfstream is the best path to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Black-Eyed Susan and every other major race in the country.” “I think with the bonus incentives and the purse increases, Gulfstream’s 3-year-old races are perfectly positioned and offer horsemen the most lucrative stakes programs heading into the spring classics.”

            For those of you who are looking to bet on the races at Gulfstream Park they made some changes to their wagering menu and in my opinion in a good way. The following is the wagering menu for the 2011 thoroughbred meet A 50 cent Pick-5 with a record low 15 percent takeout.

Low takeout rates on Bet-3 and 50 cent Pick-4 wagers of only 20 percent.

An early and late 50 cent Pick-4.

A 10 cent Pick-6.

Rolling Daily Doubles, Superfecta’s and Bet-3’s.

Win, Place, Show, Daily Double, Exacta and Trifecta wagers will be a $1 minimum wager.

 

            For more info go to www.gulfstreampark.com. Also don’t forget to pick up American Turf Monthly’s January issue which carries some important info about Gulfstream Park and how to make money betting it this winter.



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