02/28/2013 6:47PM

Gulfstream and Calder file overlapping dates requests


Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course stuck to their guns on Thursday, the deadline to file dates requests with Florida regulators, setting up the possibility that the two Miami-area tracks will race head-to-head beginning this summer.

Dates applications covering the 12-month period beginning July 1, 2013, were due by 5 p.m. on Thursday with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. Calder filed a late amendment to its application just before the deadline, but the amendment still called for year-round racing, this time on a three-day-per-week schedule, Friday through Sunday, rather than a mix of schedules that would have had the track running two days a week in the winter and either four or five days a week during the summer and fall.

So, for the time being, both tracks are presumably planning on running year round as of July 1, despite concerns over a potential shortage of horses and the difficulties both tracks will face attracting wagering dollars to competing cards in the same market.

“This whole thing boggles my mind,” said Kent Stirling, the executive director of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Calder and Gulfstream, which are located eight miles from one another, have avoided running head-to-head for decades despite the deregulation of dates in the 1980s. The two tracks had an unspoken agreement reserving the prime winter dates for Gulfstream and the summer and fall dates for Calder, but that deal began unraveling in 2011 when Gulfstream applied for year-round dates, leading to an agreement on a dates swap that saw Gulfstream take over the December dates from Calder.

Officials from both tracks exchanged offers during the past week, but those negotiations failed to result in a deal. One of the reasons the talks did not bear fruit is because the tracks still have plenty of time to negotiate before the July 1 overlap occurs. If the tracks reach an agreement before then, they can co-petition the racing board to modify their dates applications.

Gulfstream, though, shows no signs of backing down. Timothy Ritvo, the track’s general manager, said earlier on Thursday that the track’s owner, Frank Stronach, is adamant that Gulfstream hold live racing year round to leverage his investment in retail and entertainment options surrounding the Hallandale Beach facility, which was torn down in 2004 and rebuilt at a stated cost of $130 million. A casino and mall-type development surrounding the track followed.

“We’re going ahead with it,” Ritvo said. “This place needs to be a year-round destination.”

Calder’s vice president of racing, John Marshall, said the track had no choice but to fight fire with fire after Gulfstream filed for year-round racing late in December.

“Ultimately, Gulfstream was the aggressor in this assault on Calder’s 41-year history,” Marshall said. “These are the types of reckless tactics that will damage and possibly destroy racing in South Florida.”

Calder Race Course is owned by Churchill Downs Inc., a publicly traded company. One of the deals being discussed, according to officials, was a plan where Gulfstream would pay Calder to run a portion of Calder’s dates, but the two sides remained far apart on the deal’s details on Thursday.

Calder filed an amended application to race year round last Friday afternoon. The application preceding it did not encroach on Gulfstream’s December through mid-April dates, but officials for the track said that they modified the dates application because they had not made any progress with Gulfstream on a deal that would avert the summer and fall overlap created by Gulfstream’s December dates filing.

Both tracks own and operate casinos. Under Florida law, the tracks would lose their licenses to operate the casinos if they closed.


Vicky Clarke More than 1 year ago
Hahaha!!! The fhbpa is so stupid, they are poorly managed at best, they've elected people who don't have a clue what they're doing, Calder doesn't really care about losing days as long as run enough to keep the casino open, CDI DOES NOT CARE IF THEY RUN RACES ANYMORE!!! Run both tracks, idc, I'm taking all the mo ney anyways!!!
mikey More than 1 year ago
No race track gives a you know what about racing once they get a casino.They all want one to survive.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Overlap ??? Where are the horse gonna come from. As it is Calder holds a weak Finger Lakes type card from May on... When the midwest and northeast horses go back to their homes there is nothing left down here in Fla..... Overlap???
Vicky Clarke More than 1 year ago
There will be plenty of horses don't worry!!!
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
They are located in a "breeding" state so there should be an abundance of Maiden races available.
Al More than 1 year ago
This is total insanity. It is interesting if you like to pull over on the side of the road when you see a car wreck. Gulfstream squeezed out Hialeah 9years ago) with the help of Calder, and now they go for a kill shot on Calder. Not nice. Monopoly with real money and it helps the common man not a bit! All geese do not become swans. This is plain ugly.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Look at a picture of Mr Stronach he look's like a guy who tried to take over everything about 70 years ago.Ritvo would say and do anything he is told to by the boss.Shame he is a puppet with a job he can only keep if he says what he is told to.He is a racing guy with who has been gelded.
Vicky Clarke More than 1 year ago
You don't have a clue do you!!!
mikey More than 1 year ago
This man killed the best place to watch a race for a mall.Are you one of his roadies.Just ask anyone who worked for him in the past how they feel about him.The only reason Ritvo stays is because he never dreamed of making as much as he is.
mikey More than 1 year ago
The rainbow p6 will be hit every day with 5 and 6 horse fields.This is 2 babies wanting each other's toy.Gulfstream was the best track in the country,now it's a tele-theather with a casino and seating for 1000.Parking rates are high,seats in the tele-theather go fo 15 to 40 $$$.Stronach is a crazy man who needs to be stopped.
Harvey Savitsky More than 1 year ago
where are the parking charges?
Nathan More than 1 year ago
typical arrogant stronoch. he blew 100's of millions of $$$ for magna entertainment shareholders because he is an ego maniac. now he will single handidly destroy horseracing in florida.
Vicky Clarke More than 1 year ago
John Flynn More than 1 year ago
Gulfstream's shops are very unsuccessful!!! The facility is never going to be a year round destination!!! Aventura Mall has it all!!! People visit Gulfstream in the winter months to get out of the Cold!!! End of story!!! The old plant was Very Beautiful!!!
Nathan More than 1 year ago
correct. the old plant was a real racetrack. the new place sucks.
charles b More than 1 year ago
I stopped going to he "new" Gulfstream after the first time I went. It STINKS!!
mikey More than 1 year ago
Went to new gulf once and that will be the last.Why go to a place where you have to watch a race on t.v.Stay home save $$$ and bet on line.
Harvey Savitsky More than 1 year ago
I do not go either after not giving me a job!!
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
Why would anyone want to run at Calder. It is a dump they do not not know how to run a track. How are they going to run against Gulfstream. We in Fla are way behind our horses run for less money and the breeders only get money if we run in Fla. And you guys at Calder are so afraid that you will lose your stalls that is so dumb they are charging you. We need to change racing here get all the good ol boys at Fla breeders out and stop racing at Calder. They say at Calder we have the best slot contract as anybody but we run for bad money.
Vicky Clarke More than 1 year ago
Whose getting charged Bob??? No one, that's who, all you guys that ran off to Tampa to avoid rent got the shaft, good luck getting the stalls you want this year!!!!
AndyScoggin More than 1 year ago
Neglected in this discussion is the impact year round racing at Gulfstream would have on Monmouth Park. Many Monmouth trainers spend winter in FL and come north for the summer.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
No worries Andy... The top - top outfits will still ship north as always...
Robert More than 1 year ago
agree NJ and NY trainers are going north for summer and fall the losers could be Arlington and Turfway no reason to go north after wintering in FLA. Although cant imagine being at either Calder or Gulfstream in July and August.
Tony Murabito More than 1 year ago
sloppy off turf will be the norm