The Florida Derby stakes debuted at Gulfstream Park in 1952, in time with the race track’s expansion. The next year the derby purse was raised to $100,000 making it the first stakes event so richly endowed in the Sunshine State. The Florida Derby is a premier prep race for the Kentucky Derby.
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Gulfstream has been the site of some of racing’s most memorable feats. One hundred sixty national thoroughbred champions have competed at the track. It was in 1957, in a historic race where Gen. Duke equaled the world record 1:46 4/5 and defeating Bold Ruler, that the Florida Derby was established as a major stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown trail.
Gulfstream Park has two race courses: