02/26/2011 2:54PM

Calder drops restrictions, will allow horses to return after racing at Gulfstream

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Calder Race Course
Calder officials will not restrict its horsemen from racing at Gulfstream Park.

MIAMI, Fla. – Calder Race course late Saturday morning lifted the restrictions it had imposed earlier this week on horses stabled in its barn area that ship to race at Gulfstream Park. The announcement came after five Calder-based trainers had scratched their horses out of races on Saturday’s program at Gulfstream.

“We know this has been a confusing time for the horsemen who participate in the racing programs at both Calder and Gulfstream Park and we are returning to our normal stable area ship-in policies so we can avoid impacting their operational routines,” said John Marshall, vice president and general manager at Calder. “Calder wants what’s best for south Florida racing. We continue to look at our racing schedule for the coming year and as in prior years we will do what’s right for the south Florida racing community, including Calder, its horsemen, and racing fans.”

Gulfstream vice president of racing Tim Ritvo was delighted when hearing the news all shipping restrictions had been lifted.

“We’re very happy Calder lifted the restriction because we don’t want horsemen or our business to suffer,” said Ritvo.

Calder management originally informed horsemen that horses shipping to any jurisdiction to race, effective Saturday, would not be allowed to return to their stalls. That edict was amended 48 hours later lifting the restrictions against horses wishing to ship, race, and return from Tampa Bay Downs.

Gulfstream Park officials responded to the announcement by telling Calder horsemen they would find stalls for any horse who shipped to race during the current meet as long as the restrictions remained in place. Gulfstream had planned to construct up to 300 temporary stalls, if necessary, to house those horses as well as announcing its intention to apply for year-round racing and go head to head with Calder beginning July 1.

A meeting in Kentucky on Friday between Frank Stronach, CEO of MI  Developments, Gulfstream’s owner, and Bill Carstanjen, his counterpart at Calder’s owner, Churchill Downs Inc., failed to resolve the ongoing dates dispute between Gulfstream and Calder. The two sides have until midnight on Monday to make any further amendments to its dates application for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011, and running through June 30, 2012.