Embrace the calm before the next storm.
As the major racing circuit slides into a quiet period between the Belmont Stakes and the start of the major Saratoga and Del Mar schedules, gamblers can gain continuity at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
The Royal Palm Meet won’t remind Florida horse betting enthusiasts of the track’s famed Championship Meet throughout the winter, but it does have an element of consistency.
It runs Friday through Sunday, with most cards starting at 12:50 p.m. There are several medium-sized fields and a few with double-digit entries.
Favorites in the 3-1 and 4-1 range are winning substantially, but there’s usually a surprise or two every weekend.
This is all gamblers ask. They want a chance to win and get paid.
Sunshine State bettors have plenty to sink their dollars into, either at the track or on their preferred apps.
“People love to play the races, whether that’s at the live track or they may love gambling on the races from Saratoga, Belmont or the tracks in California,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told PlayFL.
Here is a Gulfstream overview of the coming weekend.
This weekend at Gulfstream Park
A 10-race card begins at 12:50 p.m. and carries $360,000 in purse money.
The opening race presents strong longshot possibilities via 12-horse field and a low level of maiden-claiming $12,500.
Saturday offers $463,000 in purse money with a 12-race card.
The biggest fields are 10 in the opening race at maiden-claiming $12,500, 12 in the ninth race with claiming $10,000 and 12 in the finale at maiden-claiming $35,000.
There is a nine-race card, starting at 12:50 p.m. The opening race has 12 entries.
Looking back at Gulfstream highlights last weekend
Friday produced winners mostly in the 3-1 and 4-1 range.
Saturday and Sunday unveiled many short-priced winners, but there were some exceptional longshots too.
And two of them, as so many do, occurred in the opening race, a lightning rod for longshots because of their low racing level and large fields.
Ylang Ylang opened the upset box in stylish fashion, prevailing at 15-1 in maiden company.
Beer Bali was next at 9-2 and the exacta returned $223.
Blue Twirlin was third at 4-1, completing the $1 trifecta of $712.
Fourth went to Mo Rissa at 7-2, enabling a 10-cent superfecta that returned $249.
This paid exceptionally well for a race in which the favorites all ran strongly. Key to the payout was the 15-1 shot on top.
Anybody get a tinge of nostalgia watching Ylang Ylang close from mid pack to steal the race?
She was ridden by Sonny Leon, who authored the biggest longshot victory of the modern age in bringing Rich Strike the Kentucky Derby at 80-1 in 2022.
And here came the “Welcome to Gulfstream” package.
The famed first-race longshot reputation lived up to its billing.
Tejota, bet down to the 4-1 second favorite, prevailed in this maiden-claiming race.
Second went to Awesome First, who surged in the final furlong and nearly caught Tejota at the wire. He had been wagered up from 15-1 to 25-1.
Midnight Chaos, who drifted up to 35-1 from 20-1 on the morning line, captured third.
Favored Bernardo’s Legacy, 2-1, was fourth.
The exacta paid $193.80. Midnight Chaos returned a handsome $17.20 to show and completed the $1 trifecta worth $1,919.
Bernardo’s Legacy wrapped up a 10-cent superfecta that paid $1,363. Bettors who got the $1 version pocketed $13,633 and the $2 super was a resounding $27,266.
And that wasn’t even the big one.
Save that for Race 9.
It took something major to produce a $2 superfecta worth $37,626 and that’s what bettors got.
Maerdama, the 1-2 favorite, spit the bit entering the final turn and finished out of the money.
Principia got up at 45-1, paying $95.40 to win, $24.20 to place and $12.20 to show. This underscores an important point, that while the longshots create terrific exotics prices, remember to also take them across the board, if you like them.
Beachland was second at 5-1, completing an exacta of $743. (Some totals are rounded up or down to the nearest dollar.)
Third went to Storm at 21-1.
Princess Tenko surged from the back of the pack to pick up fourth on the last jump at 35-1. That enabled the whopping $2 superfecta payout, which became $18,813 for $1 dollar and $1,881.
It was a great racing weekend because the chalk bettors had a chance to clean up and longshot players had a couple of memorable paydays.
Florida played major role in Triple Crown picture
The Sunshine State circuit became a prominent venue for the recently completed Triple Crown saga.
Florida bettors saw two of the winners — Kentucky Derby champion Mage and Belmont Stakes victor Arcangelo — working their ways up on the Gulfstream Circuit this past winter.
It’s unusual for one track to have showcased two of the champions.
Mage was second in the Florida Derby to Forte and Arcangelo broke his maiden at Gulfstream in March. Less than three months later, he had captured the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont and then the Belmont Stakes last Saturday.
And how about this portrait?
Arcangelo nosed out Forte in second and Tapit Trice in third. This was an all-Florida show.
Tapit Trice had won an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in February and then won the Tampa Bay Derby.
What a performance for the Sunshine State at the Belmont. It was Florida win, place and show.
Bettors who witnessed the progression of these top horses saw something special.