If this weren't print, a simple toot of the trumpet would suffice to signal the start of the racing season. Because of the sound-impaired medium, we must instead verbalize all that's in store for opening day Saturday at Gulfstream Park (901 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach).
Gulfstream's gates open at 11:30 a.m., and the race docket has 11 entries. Most notable on the menu are the final three events, the day's triple-header of high-stakes races. The Mister Prospector, Honey Fox, and Hal's Hope Handicap are all grade 3, and each carries a $100,000 purse. And Gulfstream is offering a guaranteed pool of $100,000 for the best three involving these last three handicaps. In addition to the topnotch racing, you can attend a meet and greet with Daily Racing Forum publisher Steve Crist. Crist will offer handicapping tips and sign autographs. And, as if all this equine action weren't enough, you can even rock to the tunes of Blondie during a complimentary race-day concert (see Performance). Park admission is $5, and parking is free. Each entrant will also get a free racing program, a "Park Pack" full of passes and discounts for future visits, and one free $2 betting voucher. Post time for the first race is 1 p.m. Call 954-454-7000. -- Russ Evans
Hard-hitting high school hoops
If you're a roundball junkie, there's a bunch of South Florida High School Hoops action to kick off the new year. The "Chick-Fil-A Crusader Holiday Shootout," which will be held Thursday through Saturday at Coral Springs Christian Academy (2251 Riverside Dr., Coral Springs), involves girls and boys teams from around the tricounty area. Tickets cost $4 per game for adults, $1 for students. The girls' championship final is 6 p.m. Saturday, with the boys' at 7:30 p.m. Call 954-729-8924.
You can also check out topnotch boys teams at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Basketball Classic, to be held Thursday through Saturday at Westminster Academy (5601 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $5 per session, and tournament passes are also available. Call 954-771-4600. -- Russ Evans