The $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap traditionally marks the return of major turf racing in the United States from its winter slumber. It is the season's first Grade 1 race on grass and, given its lofty status and purse, a field of 11 turf specialists will look to kick off their 2012 campaigns in fine fashion on Feb. 11.

The Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap has been run at a variety of distances throughout its history, from 1 1/16-miles (1986-1990) to 1 3/8-miles (1991-2008). The race was reduced to its current distance of 1 1/8-miles in 2009.

The Gulfstream Park Handicap acquired Grade 1 status in 1990. Since that time, notable winners have included Einstein, the only horse to ever win the race twice (2006, 2008); Kip Deville, who following his victory in 2007 would go on to win the Breeders' Cup Mile and was be named that year's champion male turf horse; and Court Vision, the 2010 winner, who in 2011 scored a mammoth upset in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

The 2011 winner of the Gulfstream Park Handicap, Teaks North, would add two more graded stakes wins that season, including the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Headlining the 2012 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap are a pair of well-accomplished turf runners in Get Stormy and Boisterous. Get Stormy hasn't raced since a disappointing 12th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs last November. Prior to that, however, Get Stormy put together a very productive campaign. He won a pair of Grade 1 races last spring—the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland and the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.

The son of Stormy Atlantic also kicked off his 2011 campaign in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, which resulted in a 3rd-place finish by just a length.

The other headliner for the 2012 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap is Boisterous. The son of Distroted Humor was last sen winning the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 5. Prior to that effort, Boisterous won the Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park in mid-October.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has dominated proceeding at Gulfstream Park in recent years, will be trying for his first-ever win in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap with graded stakes winner Silver Medallion.
Turf racing has steadily gained in notoriety in the United States and the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap is a good early indicator of who some of the major players will be throughout the season.

Trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey, who were one of the most prolific trainer-jockey combos in the country during their heyday of the 1990's and early 2000's, lead their respective categories in number of Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap victories.

Mott, who is still active, won five Gulfstream Park Handicaps from 1993 to 2001. That includes three in a row from 1999-2001 with Yagli, Royal Anthem and Subtle Power.

Bailey, who is now retired, won seven Gulfstream Park Turf Handicaps from 1992 to 2003. Four of those wins came for Mott. Bailey also won three consecutive from 1992-1994 with Passagere du Soir, Stagecraft and Strolling Along.

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