Ten Things to Know Before You Go: Florida Derby

Events / Travel
Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing

March 30 is coming up fast, and if you’re heading to South Florida for the Xpressbet Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park we have 10 things you need to know about before you arrive.

1. The winner of this race will almost certainly run in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve.

The Xpressbet Florida Derby earns its victor 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, so that means the winner will almost definitely be running for the roses on the first Saturday in May. Since the second-place finisher will earn 40 Derby points, it’s pretty likely that he’ll be in the Kentucky Derby field, too – so go to the Florida Derby, and you can brag to your friends that you’ve already seen a tenth of the Kentucky Derby field in person.

2. In the last 10 years, the Kentucky Derby winner has won or run in the Florida Derby three times.

Past Kentucky Derby winners who have run in the Florida Derby include Always Dreaming, who won both races in 2017; Nyquist, who did the same in 2016; and Orb, who was also a joint winner in 2013. That’s a pretty incredible rate of return!

3. Bring your style A-game and win incredible prizes!

If you already love dressing up for a big day of racing, you can do it for fun and profit on Florida Derby day. Bring your finest hat and compete in the Derby Hat Contest.  Men and women are welcome; just remember to register here before you go!  Prizes include a two night stay at the JW Marriott, gift cards, and more. What are you waiting for?

4. Come back to the track on Sunday, and come hungry.

When chefs duel to find out who the best cook is, you’re the real winner. Plan to head back to Gulfstream Park on Sunday for the Battle of the Apron, a competition between some of the finest chefs in South Florida. The $30 ticket gets you unlimited tastings in the stunning Flamingo Room at the track. The best part? The event benefits Florida TRAC, a charity that helps retrain and rehome retired racehorses.

5. Hit the beach while you’re in town.

Gulfstream Park is less than two miles away from Florida’s stunning coastline, so bring your bathing suit and go see the surf. The water should be warm, and you can plan on bringing an enviable tan home with you when you go.

6. If you love EDM and horse racing, this is your weekend.


10 DAYS #Ultra2019

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Dance music fans, rejoice: Florida Derby coincides with Ultra Music Festival this year. With headliners like Deadmau5, Afrojack, Armin Van Buren, The Chainsmokers, Odesza, and more, it’s going to be insanely good. Pack a faux fur neon bikini along with your best racing outfit and make this the best weekend ever.

7. Tennis, anyone?

If Deadmau5 up there isn’t your thing, you can turn Florida Derby weekend into the ultimate sporting playtime by scoring tickets to the Miami Open. Some of the biggest names in tennis will be playing over Florida Derby weekend, so grab your tickets now for the ultimate sports double play!

8.     Get crabby.


The longer you stare, the hungrier you'll get.

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Good news, shellfish fans: It’s still stone crab season. If you’ve never had the Florida delicacy before, fix that now! Stone crab is delightful, so plan a night at a specialty restaurant like the famous Joe’s Stone Crab.

9.     Grab breakfast with the stars.


Our first #BreakfastAtGulfstream featuring Oreo!

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If you’re looking for a great way to spend the morning with your friends and family, why not have breakfast at Gulfstream? The all-you-can-eat buffet is just $10, and the morning includes speakers, characters in costume, and watching horses work out in the morning. 

10. The Florida Derby is free to attend.

How often can you go to a major sporting event in a large city for free? But the Xpressbet Florida Derby lets you do just that. General admission is complimentary, which means you can watch the races from the rail right next to the track without spending a dime.  Looking for a little more? Reserved seating is available, but be sure to buy your tickets here soon.

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