Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
Gulfstream Park 901 S Federal Hwy Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
Year Opened: 1939
Miami’s Other Track
Hialeah Park in Miami is probably the most well-known live horse racing venue in the state of Florida, but not far away is another track, Gulfstream Park, which offers many more racing days on the calendar – Gulfstream Park offers live racing from July to October and again from December to May, while Hialeah only has live racing from November to February.
Food & Beverage 4
Gulfstream Park offers a wide range of concessions for folks at the races, but unexpectedly most of them come from the same main stands. If you stand in front of the concessions stands for a minute or two you will see the board flip between three different menus – chicken wings, chicken tenders, hot dogs, and wraps, followed by pizza, subs, and calzones, and finally stir fry bowls with an Asian flare.
This is for the stands inside the clubhouse (lower level), with prices ranging from $5 to $15 for main dishes, but if you walk outside you can find more basic stands that just have hot dogs, pizza, and small snacks for $3 to $6. If you sit up on the club level (which requires a pricier ticket) you can enjoy buffet-style food and a full bar.
The atmosphere at Gulfstream Park is nice – the scenery is great with the lake in the middle the palm trees, and a few high-rises in the background, and there are multiple seating areas you can choose from, most of which are under cover if not indoors – some of the ones outside have fans blowing to help keep you cool, although it is so hot here they don’t help much.
There are of course plenty of betting machines, mostly self-service, and there is also a large simulcast viewing room inside, with dozens of screens on the wall if you want to take in races at other tracks, and plenty of individual seats at tables in front of them so you can keep notes.
There is very little entertainment within walking distance of Gulfstream Park, other than the attached casino, given the enormous footprint the track and its accompanying parking lots take up, but there are plenty of great restaurants within a short drive. Being in Miami Cuban food is a great option, and you will see plenty of those eateries in the area, as well as numerous great seafood places. There is also a wonderful Mexican restaurant closer to the airport (about 20 minutes from the track) called Chevys Fresh Mex, which is worth a look if are headed that way.
In addition to the restaurants there are plenty of hotels in the area, most of them closer to the beach, and if you are looking for something to do before or after the races, Miami also has several professional sports teams, including the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Marlins, and the Miami Heat, as well as the University of Miami Hurricanes which share a stadium with the Dolphins. Since Gulfstream Park offers racing throughout most of the year, you should be able to double up with one or more of these other teams if desired.
Gulfstream Park doesn’t have many racegoers in attendance, possibly because the races begin around noon or 1 p.m. instead of at night – but with ten or so races on the card, you may see a bump in attendance as the sun starts to go down.
The big knock for Miami horse racing is simply the traffic – it takes a very long time to get to Gulfstream Park, but once you get on-site you can park very easily right next to the racetrack. The parking lot itself seems a little run down with a few potholes in places, but it is largely empty, so there is plenty of room. Once inside there is even more room to roam around, with plenty of seating in any of the various sections.
Return on Investment 3
There is no cost for admission at Gulfstream Park, and you can buy a basic program for only $1 (the more detailed program runs $5). However, there is nothing here that is too out of the ordinary – just a basic racetrack in a pretty setting.
You can get pretty close to the horses here, though depending on the length of each race (they vary across the card), the starting gate might be on the other side of the track. There is also an inner track as well as an outer track, making races on the inner track a little harder to follow – but they have several giant videoboards around, so you can watch the action that way if you can’t quite make out the leaders with the naked eye.