Citing casino closings and the absence of on-track handle, Gulfstream Park announced March 21 that the purse of the March 28 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) will be reduced from $1 million to $750,000.
Racing at Gulfstream Park, like other tracks still in operation amid COVID-19, is being run free of spectators, with betting restricted to advance deposit wagering platforms. Casinos, including the one at Gulfstream Park, have been shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The March 28 program at Gulfstream will also see reductions to other major stakes. The Kitten’s Joy Pan American Stakes (G2T) and the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) will both drop from $250,000 to $200,000, and the Cutler Bay Stakes and Sanibel Island Stakes will dip from $125,000 to $100,000 apiece.
The Gulfstream Park announcement of purse reductions came a day after Oaklawn Park officials trimmed the Arkansas Derby (G1) from $1 million to $750,000 and moved the race from April 11 to May 2, the closing day of its meet. May 2 had been the scheduled date of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) before Churchill Downs officials announced March 17 that it would be postponed until Sept. 5.
Oaklawn officials said in their Friday announcement that by maintaining a purse of $750,000, Churchill Downs would allow the race to maintain its 170 qualifying points toward the Derby, distributed on a 100-40-20-10 scale to its first four finishers.
On Friday, Gulfstream Park listed the following 3-year-olds as being under consideration for the Florida Derby: Ajaaweed, Tiz the Law, Ete Indien, Independence Hall, and Gouverneur Morris.