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Gulfstream Enjoys Record-Setting Opening Day

bernie the maestro

Gulfstream Park opened its 2012-2013 season Saturday by setting Opening Day records in its new facility for on-track and total handle.

Playing host for the first time to the Claiming Crown, Gulfstream’s total handle was $12.216 million, up 66 percent from last year’s Opening Day. On-track handle was $1.440 million, up 84 percent from the previous year.

“We’re thrilled with the way our fans responded to our Opening Day and the incredible program that our owners, trainers and jockeys put on,” said Gulfstream President Tim Ritvo. “It was great partnering with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the National Horsemen’s Benevolence & Protective Association on the Claiming Crown. We look forward to a tremendous winter of racing and entertainment at Gulfstream Park.”

Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker claimed four of the seven Claiming Crown races during Saturday’card. With more than 9,000 people celebrating Opening Day at Gulfstream, the Ramseys’ red-and-white silks adorned the winner’s circle after the $200,000 The Jewel with Parent’s Honor, the $125,000 The Tiara with Starsilhouette, the $100,000 Rapid Transit with Bernie the Maestro, and the $100,000 Iron Horse with Brother Bird.

The Ramseys are the all-time leading Claiming Crown owners with 10 winners while Maker is the all-time leading Claiming Crown trainer with 11 wins.

“It’s nice to win on the big stage, down here on Opening Day with all the people and all the high purses.”

Bernie the Maestro/Courtney Stafford photo