05/26/2011 3:29PM

Calder, horsemen differ over source-market fees from account wagers

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MIAMI – South Florida horsemen and management of Calder Race Course are at odds again. This time the dispute centers around the radius of the source-market area from which a portion of advance-deposit wagering revenue for purses are determined.

According to Sam Gordon, president of the Florida Division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, horsemen currently receive 2 percent of the fees on account wagers placed on Calder races within a 25-mile radius of the track. He said the horsemen are asking that radius be extended to 100 miles to include Palm Beach County.

“All we’re looking for is to extend the source market and give us a little more of the ADW revenues for purses,” said Gordon.

Gordon said the horsemen’s association had originally threatened to rescind permission for Calder to send its signal to Twinspires and Youbet.com on May 15 but granted the track an extension at that time with the hopes of ironing out an agreement. He said they have now given management a second, seven-day extension which continues through June 1

“Our source fees were cut from 3.5 per cent to 2 per cent in 2009,” said Gordon. “By extending the radius to 100 miles, we’re just looking to get back as close to where we were with those ADW revenues as we can. The Florida Breeders Association is currently seeking legislation that would extend the radius throughout the entire state. We’re just trying to put a Band-aid on the problem now with our request. We’ll need a tourniquet if the state ultimately gets involved.”

Calder’s vice president and general manager, John Marshall said extending the radius to 100 miles is something the track cannot justify at this time.

“We were willing to institute a 5 per cent purse increase today,” said Marshall. “But with the uncertainty over whether we’ll be able to send our content out online beginning next week, we are unable to implement that increase. By preventing us from distributing our signal, the horsemen would be taking away a revenue stream of 10 percent for purses.”

Marshall said purses are up 6 per cent this year as compared to 2010 and 16 per cent overall since they were slashed drastically in 2008 during a bitter purse dispute between horsemen and track management.