Beauty is expected, of course, but to be Ms. Racing Queen, a woman also has to have horse sense.
The finals of the second annual contest will take place 3 p.m. Friday at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino, as part of Florida Derby weekend. The field is down to five contestants, culled from competitions at Gulfstream in Hallandale Beach and five from Gulfstream's sister track, Santa Anita in California.
The winner will serve as an ambassador of Gulfstream's parent company, the Stronach Group, working to promote thoroughbred horse racing. That's where knowledge of horseracing comes in. Pageant officials have held seminars for the women to cement their base knowledge of the sport.
On Saturday, Janice L. Blake, author of "How To Exercise a Thoroughbred Race Horse," will sign books from 7 to 10 a.m. in the tiki area, and Steven Crist of the Daily Racing Form will give a free handicapping seminar at 11 a.m.
Gulfstream's restaurants treat Florida Derby race day almost as Churchill Downs does the Kentucky Derby. The buffet at Ten Palms will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Outdoor and window seating costs $200, $175 otherwise. Call 954-457-6201. The Fountain Club will open at 11 a.m. and charge $100 for a set menu. Call 954-483-0857. The Sport of Kings barbecue buffet will be available for $50. Call 954-457-6201.
A Florida Derby hat contest will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday at the walking ring, after the call to post for the eighth race. Top prize for girls ages 2 to 12 is $100; for 13 to 17, it's $150; and for 18 and up, it's $750.
After the final race, a party in the walking ring will include a cash bar, drink specials and music. Admission is free.
Meanwhile, Gulfstream is asking patrons to go to GulfstreamPark.com/floridaderbychallenge to pick the jockey they think will win Saturday's race. Grand prize is a table for two at Ten Palms for 2015. Four others will receive gift bags. The promotion will start at 3 p.m. Wednesday and run through 5 p.m. Saturday, just before the race.
Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino is at 901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach. Call 954-454-7000 or go to GulfstreamPark.com.