06/30/2014 7:02PM

Calder draws Friday card as dates negotiations continue


MIAMI – The 2014 Calder summer meet might not be over just yet.

Calder racing secretary Mike Anifantis drew an eight-race program Monday to be run Friday, although his office did not officially release the overnight that evening. The card was drawn as a contingency plan should the pending dates agreement between Calder and Gulfstream Park not be signed and approved imminently.

Officials from both the Churchill Downs Inc.-owned Calder and Stronach Group-controlled Gulfstream Park had expressed confidence over the weekend that the deal would become official by Monday, but as of early Monday evening, the landmark agreement had yet to be signed by all relevant parties, including the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

The pending agreement called for Calder to cease live racing operations as of the conclusion of its program this past Sunday. The fiscal year in south Florida ends June 30. Under terms of the agreement, Gulfstream would race unopposed for 10 months each year, with Calder to run, under the auspices of the Stronach Group, in October and November only, thus eliminating the head-to-head conflict between the two neighboring Thoroughbred facilities that has existed for the past year.

“We were told last Friday racing at Calder would end after [Sunday’s] card,” said Anifantis. “But I received a call from my superiors late Sunday afternoon telling me to take entries for Friday on the chance the dates deal does not get done. I am also putting out extras and, at the moment, planning to draw a card for Saturday unless told otherwise.”

Calder had already applied for and been granted approval to operate a live racing meet from July 4 through June 30, and absent a new dates agreement with Gulfstream Park that would be approved by the state of Florida, it would be required to fulfill that commitment.   

Neither John Marshall, vice president and general manager of racing at Calder, nor Gulfstream Park president Tim Ritvo was available for comment as of early Monday evening.