07/26/2013 9:44AM

Calder and horsemen reach agreement on purses


Calder Race Course and the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association reached a purse agreement on Thursday, putting an end to a threat by horsemen to withdraw consent for the export of Calder’s signal if the dispute wasn’t resolved by Friday.

Officials for Calder and the FHBPA said the agreement runs through Dec. 31, 2013. Calder had been running without a purse agreement with horsemen since opening in mid-April.

The unresolved contract was one of several issues affecting the South Florida Thoroughbred circuit, where Calder and Gulfstream Park in nearby Hallandale Beach have been running head-to-head for the first time this summer.

Earlier this summer, Calder implemented a policy forbidding most horses from returning to the grounds if they ship to Gulfstream to race. Although the purse agreement did not address stabling issues, Calder has agreed to allow horses at the track to have limited opportunities to run at Gulfstream under a separate policy, said Kent Stirling, executive director of the FHBA.

John Marshall, the vice president of racing at Calder, said the purse agreement will “offer a lot of stability for Calder and all the people looking to race in South Florida.”

“This answers a lot of unanswered questions and gives us some stability through the end of this year,” Marshall said.

Marshall said that track officials and the horsemen will soon begin to work on a new contract for the 2014 year and beyond, and he said those negotiations will take place with the assumption that Calder will be running head-to-head against Gulfstream for the near future.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated how Calder decided to change its stabling and shipping policy. The change on stabling and shipping was made separate from the purse accord; it was not part of that agreement.