07/17/2013 4:30PM

Florida horsemen warn Calder over purse agreement

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The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has warned Calder Race Course that it will withdraw its consent for the track to import any simulcast signals on July 25 unless the track comes to an agreement with the organization on a purse contract for Calder’s ongoing summer meet, the horsemen’s association said.

The horsemen’s group issued the warning in a letter sent to Calder on Tuesday, according to the association’s executive director, Kent Stirling. Last week, the horsemen’s association sent letters to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering as well, saying that Calder should not be allowed to operate its casino without the purse agreement in place.

The warning is the latest escalation in an ongoing dispute with Calder over purse distribution amid Calder’s clash with neighboring Gulfstream Park, which is running head to head with Calder this summer for the very first time. So far, Gulfstream, which has the more prominent brand name among horseplayers, appears to be winning the battle, with slightly larger fields and at least double the amount of handle on its cards.

Calder has been running without a purse agreement with its horsemen since opening its meet in April. The two sides have clashed on policies regarding shipping and stall space.

Horsemen have the right to block a track’s simulcasts under a federal law. The Florida horsemen’s association said it would not block the distribution of Calder’s simulcast signals to out-of-state sites, limiting the ban to incoming simulcasts only.