Gulfstream Park Picks: Horse Racing Betting

Daniel Collins

Written by: Daniel Collins

Last Updated:

Read Time: 9 minutes

Gulfstream Park turf finish line

Horse Racing Betting At Gulfstream Park 

Nestled in the vibrant city of Hallandale Beach, Florida, Gulfstream Park has solidified its status as one of the premier horse tracks in the US. This horse racing betting guide will provide players with the background and tools to improve their Gulfstream Park picks.  

As one of two major thoroughbred tracks in Florida, Gulfstream Park stands as a beacon of racing excellence, offering a diverse calendar of meets that culminate in the highly anticipated Championship meet from December to March. 

The track offers competitive racing and healthy pools that make it a great place for players to spend their wagering dollar.

Meets Calendar at Gulfstream Park

Trainer Jerry Bozzo, 97, gets win at Gulfstream Park - NBC Sports

Gulfstream Park has become a year round racing venue in recent years following the permanent closure of Calder Race Course, most recently known as Gulfstream Park West. The closure left just Gulfstream Park and its cross state Tampa Bay Downs as the last two major thoroughbred tracks in the state of Florida.

Although the track runs several smaller meets including the Royal Palm and the Flamingo, the marquee meet takes place from December to March each year. Known as the championship meet, the racing takes advantage of Florida’s idyllic winter conditions.

During this time, many of the top trainers descend on the track to get turf racing in the winter months or just get their horses a chance to turn out in the warm Florida weather.

It’s not just the horses. Top trainers and jockeys also seek refuge. The likes of Todd Pletcher, Mike Maker, Chad Brown, and the Ortiz brothers make the winter racing at Gulfstream Park among the best in the country.

The highlights of the Championship meet each year include the Pegasus World Cup for older horses and the Florida Derby. The latter is a part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby prep season.

Racing Surfaces at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park is a unique track featuring three distinct racing surfaces. These surfaces get used to varying degrees throughout the years.


Like many tracks around the country Gulfstream Park features a one mile dirt oval. The track is one of the most notorious for fitting a traditional dirt track profile. Oftentimes favoring inside speed carrying fields wire to wire.


For years the Gulfstream Park turf course struggled after the earliest days of the meet. The wear and tear earned it the nickname “durf” by many in the horse racing community because it would often get chewed up and look almost like a dirt track at times. However, the track was renovated during 2023 and will be reopened during the 2023-2024 Championship meet in hopes of providing a better, more sustainable course.


Synthetic surfaces gaining traction at major horse racing tracks - The San Diego Union-Tribune

A tapeta track opened during the 2021-2022 Championship meet. Nestled between the dirt and turf courses the synthetic surface provides something a little different. 

Gulfstream Park frequently saw torrential downpours wash out turf racing. When this occurred fields of 10 or 12 horses were quickly scratched down to fields of 4 or 5 when races were moved to the dirt. However, synthetic tracks tend to have a profile more similar to turf than dirt. 

Currently when events are taken off the turf, they are moved to the tapeta surface and the trainers of the true turfers tend to leave their horses in. Presumably because the track meets the needs of their horse. This means bigger off turf fields and better opportunity for the wagering public.

There are also a number of races specifically carded for tapeta which gives an opportunity to synthetic track specialists which don’t have a lot of options across North America.

Track Trends at Gulfstream Park

Players should always be mindful of the pace and uniqueness of each handicapping puzzle. However, an understanding of run styles and post position success can often point toward horses that may excel in a race where they otherwise look overmatched.

Running Profile

Run profiles can be easily identified by using the Betting News track bias tool. Each of the courses and distances has its own unique profile that produces the most winners. The bias tool allows players to narrow each race down to its precise specifications and make better Gulfstream Park Picks.


Generally however, the dirt course has been known for producing an absolute speed bias. Horses on the dirt course are best served by being near the front of the leaders as they head into the far turn.


On the tapeta things are a bit more wide open with horses coming from a number of different positions. Occasionally the track can play a bit like the dirt, but overwhelmingly the horses that sit off the lead in the first or early second flight tend to have the most success.


When it comes to the turf, the jury is still out. The old turf course was heavily speed favoring as it was rock hard and featured tight turns. While the configuration hasn’t changed much since the last turf racing concluded, the newly renovated surface will need to be evaluated separately from previous races.

Post Positions

Watch Anthony Thomas Win His 2nd Race At Gulfstream Park -

When using post position data it is important to remember that posts mean the most when combined with run style. Players should constantly strive to determine how the draw post will play in the overall pace setup of the race.

Gulfstream Park has a pretty solid distribution of winners across all posts. In sprint races, run at less than one mile, post positions tend to produce between 10% and 15% winners across the board.

Route races run at distances of a mile or longer, tend to see a bit more variation. In route races the inside post, or the rail,  is the only one that maintains a win percentage of less than 10%. This is in contrast to posts 6-9 which include a pair of posts winning at over 20%.

Top Jockeys at Gulfstream Park

The top jockeys at Gulfstream Park fluctuate throughout the year. During the Championship meet the ranks are filled with familiar names to casual fans. During the other meets the colony has a solid base of local jockeys while the superstars head back to their respective circuits.

Here is a look at the top jockeys at Gulfstream Park in 2023

NAME: STARTS – 1st – 2nd – 3rd; TOTAL $; WIN % – TOP 3 % 

  1. Irad Ortiz Jr.: 454 -128 – 86 – 66; $7,500,856; 28% – 62% 
  2. Luis Saez: 382 – 71 – 45 – 56; $3,764,510; 19% – 45% 
  3. Jose Ortiz: 462 – 68 – 77 – 78; $3,776,260; 15% – 48% 
  4. Tyler Gaffalione: 331 – 57 – 48 – 47; $2,924,805; 17% – 46% 
  5. Edgard Zayas: 338 – 43 – 49 – 41; $2,070,995; 13% – 39% 
  6. Javier Castellano: 278 – 39 – 40 – 33; $2,394,805; 14% – 41% 
  7. Leonel Reyes: 338 – 31 – 31 – 56; $1,459,311; 9% – 35% 
  8. Junior Alvarado: 244 – 30 – 29 – 26; $3,552,095; 12% – 35% 
  9. Paco Lopez: 257 – 28 – 32 – 26; $1,559,165; 11% – 39% 
  10. Miguel Vasquez: 296 – 28 – 36 – 24; $1,368,100; 9% – 30%

For a more detailed look at how jockeys do over specific conditions, check out the Betting News Jockey tool.

Top Trainers at Gulfstream Park

Much like the jockey standings, the trainer standings can fluctuate dramatically between the meets depending on which stables are in town. 

Here is a look at the top trainers at Gulfstream Park in 2023

RANK NAME: STARTS – 1st – 2nd – 3rd; TOTAL $; WIN % – TOP 3 % 

  1. Saffie Joseph Jr: 238 – 47 – 35 – 31; $2,178,626; 20% – 47% 
  2. Todd Pletcher: 185 – 41 – 27 – 29; $3,594,866; 22% – 52% 
  3. Michael Maker: 100 – 22 – 15 – 12; $1,865,025; 22% – 49% 
  4. Jose D’Angelo: 136 – 21 – 23 – 24; $696,710; 15% – 50% 
  5. Chad Brown: 73 – 18 – 17 – 4; $1,320,855; 25% – 53% 
  6. Antonio Sano: 126 – 18 – 8 – 16; $568,095; 14% – 33% 
  7. Bill Mott: 94 – 17 – 16 – 10; $3,105,815; 18% – 44% 
  8. Christophe Clement: 58 – 17 – 13 – 10; $1,120,800; 29% – 57% 
  9. Mark Casse: 164 – 17 – 22 – 13; $1,081,158; 10% – 33% 
  10. Rohan Crichton: 86 – 14 – 14 – 15; $538,845; 16% – 50% 

For a more detailed look at how trainers do over specific conditions, check out the Betting News Trainer tool.

Expert Gulfstream Park Picks

Betting News provides expert Gulfstream Park Picks each and every day from Hallandale Beach. The page will include all of the tools horseplayers need to build their bets for the day. Need a little help? Betting News compiles expert selections and recommended wagers for each and every race that can be used to simplify your handicapping process.

Best Bets for Gulfstream Park

When establishing best bets for the day at any track it is recommended that you review the winning profiles graph on the Betting News race page. Best bets will often emerge when a horse lives in a quadrant that produces the most winners either by themselves or with one other horse. 

These horses often have the talent and tactical edge needed to produce winning efforts.

You can also find solid win contenders for big cards by reading our weekly articles.

Gulfstream Park FAQ

What are the major races held at Gulfstream Park each year?

Gulfstream Park hosts a number of major graded stakes races throughout the year. However, there are some definite races that attract extra attention from the horse racing world.

  1. Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup
  2. Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf
  3. Grade 1 Florida Derby*
  4. Grade 2 Fountain of Youth*
  5. Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks*

*Indicates part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks prep series

Where can I bet my Gulfstream Park picks?

As always, players are able to bet on Gulfstream Park locally from the track or a local OTB. However, in the 21st century players have a plethora of other options as well.

Offshore sportsbooks provide some of the best opportunities for wagering. This includes additional bonuses, rewards, rebates, and promotions that can reduce takeout and put more money back in your pocket.

What kind of bets can I place at Gulfstream Park?

Gulfstream Park offers a range of betting types, including win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, and more. Explore our expert Gulfstream Park picks to inform your betting strategy, whether you’re a seasoned bettor or a newcomer to the thrilling world of horse racing wagering.