Updated on 09/17/2011 11:55PM

Calder, Gulf sign simo deal


MIAMI - Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park announced Friday that they have signed an agreement to exchange their simulcast signals beginning with the opening of the 2006 Gulfstream meet on Jan. 4. The announcement was made by Calder president Kenn Dunn, Gulfstream president and general manager Scott Savin, and Sam Gordon, president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

Under the agreement, Calder can offer simulcast wagering on Gulfstream's live races as well as on all other signals that Gulfstream brings in during its live meet. Gulfstream will have the same access to Calder's wagering menu when Calder reopens for live racing in the spring.

The agreement also moves card room operations from Calder to Gulfstream on a year-round basis. Under Florida regulations, card rooms can operate only on the days a track offers live racing. Gulfstream will lease Calder's card room license during Calder's live meet.

"We believe that year-round simulcasting of Thoroughbred racing at each of our facilities will help increase business," said Dunn.

Savin agreed and called the agreement a milestone. The deal is an example of increasing cooperation between the country's two biggest racetrack operators, Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns Gulfstream, and Churchill Downs Inc., which owns Calder.

"That there will be simulcast racing and a chance to increase potential earnings and the customer base at both tracks is significant in itself," Savin said. "But I also see this to be a milestone event for the entire landscape of Florida racing to finally be able to get Gulfstream and Calder together and everybody 100 percent committed to improving racing in the area.

"This deal was three years in the making. The horsemen were also an integral part of making it happen, and it's great to see everybody was able to put their self-interests aside and get along for the greater good of the sport."

Meanwhile, Gulfstream continues to race the clock to complete its . Although work is progressing inside and outside the new grandstand, only a small portion of the facility will be ready for opening day.

Savin is hoping that the entire first floor of the new building, along with 900 stadium seats on the second level, will be available by Jan. 4. The main dining room and the rest of the second floor is scheduled to open by Jan. 28. The remainder of the facility, including three additional dining rooms, is expected to be completed by the end of February.