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The New Gulfstream Park

The horses race past the new jumbo screen at Gulfstream Park.

Date: 03/06/2006

This weekend was my first trip to Gulfstream since it was torn down in 2004 and rebuilt. This is the inaugural meet for the new facility and it was obvious that things are still not quite finished, but they are getting close. There are signs of work with wires still hanging out of the wall in places and most offices still in temporary trailers up the stretch from the building, but it was finished enough to put on this meet.

The new Gulfstream Park granstand from the parking lot.
The first thing you notice is the grandstand is tiny compared to the old one. It is a very short walk to go from one end to the other, although there is a temporary picnic type area next to it with a tent for shade to give added space. There are lots of seats around the walking ring, but only one breezeway for all the people to pass through from there to the apron, making for a very crowded walk if you want to watch the horses there and then go to trackside for the races. On each side of the breezeway are rooms for simulcasting with desks for rent while above are the fancy areas for the more well heeled patrons. Seats on the apron were free this weekend while the seats on the second level were $50 each.

The new walking ring at Gulfstream Park.

Gone are many of the things that I enjoyed about the old Gulfstream. The Cigar statue and the Garden of Champions is gone and unlikely to return. The large photos of Florida Derby winners that used to hang in the old grandstand are also missing. The whole look of the place is more Las Vegas than race track, which is what Frank Stronach intended, and it will change even more that way when the shopping, entertainment, and condo complexes on the grounds are finished. Is this a good thing? I guess that depends on your point of view, but to me it seems to be missing the soul and sense of history it once had.

Gulfstream Park Poll
Do you like the new Gulfstream Park?

No, the old one was better
Yes, the change is good

Two more views of the walking ring, one from ground level and one from the 2nd floor.

Two views of the front of the new grandstand. Left is a view from the turf course which shows just over half of it. Right is a view from the apron at one end which shows the entire building.

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