10/28/2005 12:00AM

Calder reopening, but slowly


Calder Race Course was to open for simulcasting only on Saturday, Breeders' Cup Day, and for a limited live racing card both Sunday and Monday, track President Ken Dunn announced Friday. Calder has been closed since suffering extensive damage during Hurricane Wilma on Monday.

Calder will run five races, all on the turf, on Sunday and Monday. According to Calder officials, the Sunday races will comprise Nos. 3, 6, 7, 9, and 12 from the canceled Saturday program. The regular live racing schedule is expected to resume next Thursday.

"Under normal circumstances, we would expect to have 8,500 here on Breeders' Cup," Dunn said. "Now we'll probably be lucky to get 3,000."

Dunn said racing cannot be conducted on the main track until the inner rail, sections of which were destroyed during the storm, can be repaired. That is not expected to happen until Tuesday or Wednesday. The main track opened for the first time Friday morning. Dogs were set out to keep horses away from the damaged rail.

"We had complete devastation here Monday due to the storm, especially in the barn area where 57 of the 80 barns suffered roof damage and 392 stalls were left without roofs," said Dunn. "We've already started shuttling horses from the three barns hit worst, 2, 40 and 60, to Gulfstream Park. It will take five to seven days just to get the materials here to fix the roofs and another three weeks at best, but probably more, to repair all the damaged barns."

Dunn said it is unlikely Calder would have enough horses to make up the lost racing days.

Gulfstream Park, also hit by the hurricane and without power, was still in a "damage assessment mode," track president Scott Savin said Friday.

"We don't anticipate having power restored here until Sunday," said Savin. "We have taken approximately 50 horses into our barn area from Calder today and will continue to accept horses from Calder on a rotating basis while they continue repairs to the damaged barns."

Savin said construction on the new grandstand at Gulfstream has been severely slowed by the storm.

"We have approximately 100 workers on site today, which is about 25 percent of the full staff," said Savin. "The problem is that many of our workers still don't have power themselves or enough gasoline to get here. We're hoping to get back to a full complement next week. But as of now we fully expect both the barn area and the meet to open as scheduled.

The Gulfstream barn area is scheduled to open on Nov. 14. The 2006 Gulfstream Park meet begins Jan. 4.

Savin said Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach will open on Nov. 7 pending the restoration of power.