Saturday, December 14, 2019
Wager unsolved for 11 days . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The pool for the 20-cent Rainbow 6 will be guaranteed for $600,000 today at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved Friday for the 11th consecutive racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet that got under way Nov. 29.

    Tickets with all six winners were each worth $4,845 Friday.

    The $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G3) will kick off today’s Rainbow 6 sequence that will span Races 6-11. The $100,000 My Charmer has been carded as Race 7 and will be followed by the $100,000 Rampart (G3) in Race 8, the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) in Race 9, the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) in Race 10 and a maiden claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on turf in Race 11.

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $9,028.
Monday, December 9, 2019
Hauntedbythemusic runs faster than $100,000 Inaugural time . . .

    It's a little too late for Ocala Stud Farm's The Big Beast to catch Journeyman Stud's Khozan for the Florida freshman sire money-earnings title, but the winners crown figures to go right down to the wire.

    Hauntedbythemusic saw to that Saturday with an eye-opening score in his six-furlong debut at Tampa Bay Downs. It was the 15th winner for the son of Yes It's True, tying Khozan for the lead with 23 days remaining on the racing calendar. 

    With Antonio Gallardo aboard, the colt bred by Sorrento Oaks Farm was in a three-way battle for the lead from the outset through fractions of :22.19, :45.34 and :57.48, but from the top of the stretch home it was no contest. Hauntedbythemusic left the other two behind and scampered off to win by 6 1/4 lengths, clocked in a sharp 1:09.69, just one second off the track record. He paid a generous $19.20, earned a check for $16,300, and promises to be a major factor in the upcoming 3-year-old races at Tampa.   

    To put Hauntedbythemusic's performance in perspective, two races earlier Zaino Boyz was an easy winner of the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes and was clocked in 1:09.95. He received a 92 'E' rating from Equibase compared to the 95 for Hauntedbythemusic an hour later.   

Sunday, December 8, 2019
Wagering reaches nearly $14 million . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 21st running of the Claiming Crown Saturday at Gulfstream Park produced an all-time handle record of $13.846 million. The previous record for the event was $13.612 million set last year.

     The 11-race program was highlighted by Leitone’s victory in the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel and four stakes victories by jockey Paco Lopez.

     “We’re ecstatic with the results from the Claiming Crown,” said Mike Lakow, Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing. “It continues to grow and we witnessed some special performances from our horses and jockeys. We appreciate the support from the horsemen as well as our fans. We believe this is a special weekend at Gulfstream with the Claiming Crown and the Clasico Internacional del Caribe. We’re looking forward to another memorable day Sunday with the best thoroughbreds from Latin America and the Caribbean. The energy in the building will be incredible once again.”

    Dan Metzger, President of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said; “It’s extremely gratifying to see the Claiming Crown set a wagering record. It is improving every year and it’s become a real can’t-miss spot on the calendar for horsemen and fans alike. We appreciate the support of Gulfstream Park, the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and all the fans and horsemen.”  

    Today’s card will be highlighted by the $300,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe, and five races featuring the best from Latin America and the Caribbean. First race post is 11:40 a.m. The Clasico will feature a Taste of the Caribbean as well as a concert after the races by De La Ghetto.

Rainbow 6 carryover will have guaranteed pool

     The 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a guaranteed pool of $300,000 when racing resumes. It will begin with the sixth race, an allowance race at a mile on the turf for fillies and mares. The remaining five races in the sequence will feature the races of the Clasico Internacional del Caribe.

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Young rider lives in nearby Davie . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Jockey Tyler Gaffalione registered his first victory of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet aboard 1-2 favorite Durlyn in Thursday’s seventh race at Gulfstream Park. After spending the past several months riding primarily in Kentucky with a summer sojourn to Saratoga, the 25-year-old native of nearby Davie is happy to be home for the winter.

    “It’s really nice to be back home," Gaffalione said upon his return. "It’s been a great summer and fall but it’s nice to come home and see my family and enjoy the nice weather. It’s been pretty cold in Kentucky so I’m definitely enjoying all this. I’m just looking forward to the meet and riding some nice horses, hopefully.”

    Represented by Matt Muzikar, Gaffalione tied for second at both the Keeneland spring and fall meets, each with 14 wins; amassed 24 wins and $1.5 million in purse earnings at Churchill Downs’ fall stand; and had 12 victories – two in graded-stakes – and nearly $1.3 million in purses earned in his first full summer at Saratoga.

    Of his 14 graded stakes wins this year, 10 have come since the 2018-19 Championship Meet ended topped by his first Triple Crown victory with War of Will in the Preakness Stakes on May 18. Most recently, he won the Gr. I Matriarch at Del Mar with Get Stormy on Dec. 1.

    “I’m just very blessed, very fortunate," Gaffalione said. "I have a great agent and he finds me good horses to ride. I’ve been able to ride for some good connections, the owners, trainers and some really nice horses. Hopefully we can just keep building on everything and we’re looking forward to a good winter.”

    Gaffalione was fourth in wins (70) and sixth in purses ($3.2 million) at last winter’s Championship Meet, after ranking third in wins in both 2017-18 (87) and 2016-17 (62), with respective earnings of $4.039 million and $2.28 million.      


Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Irad and Jose kick it off today . . .
     HALLANDALE BEACH - Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will make his 2019-2020 Championship Meet debut at Gulfstream Park today, when he will launch his title defense with five mounts on a 10-race program.

     Ortiz, the 2018 Eclipse Award winner, is making a strong run at repeating as North America’s top jockey with 289 winning rides and a record $32 million in purse earnings during a stellar campaign that was kicked off with a riding title at Gulfstream. The 27-year-old edged two-time titlist Luis Saez, 135-134, to win the Gulfstream title last year, when he rode Bricks and Mortar to victory in the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf .

    Ortiz, who later rode Bricks and Mortar to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Vino Rosso to a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last month, will ride Florida Cotton in Race 2, Sturgeon in Race 6, Inter Miami in Race 7, Dancie in Race 8 and Year of the Kitten in Race 10.

    Jose Ortiz will also make his first appearance in the Championship Meet while riding in Races 2, 4 and 9. Irad’s younger brother, who was the 2017 Eclipse Award winner, has won 263 races this year and ranks second with $26.3 million in purse earnings.

    Tyler Gaffalione is also scheduled to return to his roots in South Florida today. The 25-year-old native of Davie has the mount aboard Keep It Up in Race 10. Gaffalione entered the last day of the Churchill Downs fall meeting Sunday ranked first in purses-won with $1.9 million and second in wins with 25 trips to the winner’s circle.

    Paco Lopez will also return to local action after riding the winners of three graded stakes Saturday at Del Mar, where he capped his big day with a victory aboard Mo Forza in the Hollywood Derby.

Claiming Crown, Clasico Internacional del Caribe Highlight Week Ahead

    The Championship Meet kicks into high gear with the running of the $1.1 million Claiming Crown Saturday afternoon and the $670,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe Sunday. Saturday’s Claiming Crown, featuring nine stakes for horses who have started in claiming races during the year, drew 261 nominations. Sunday’s Clasico Internacional del Caribe, featuring five races for horses from Latin America and the Caribbean, will be highlighted by the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe. The top horsemen and horses from Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica will be represented.