12/30/2013 2:56PM

Gulfstream and Calder in racing dates discussions


Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course in South Florida are in the midst of discussions over future racing dates at the two facilities, six months after the tracks began racing head-to-head for the first time, officials for both tracks said on Monday.

The talks have been taking place over the past few weeks and are ongoing, though the officials cautioned that a deal is not imminent. The state’s regulatory commission requires tracks to submit preliminary dates plans for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014, by Jan. 4, but those plans can be amended up until Feb. 28, and tracks can ask for approval to change the dates at any time with the agreement of local racing constituencies.

Though both sides declined to provide details about the talks, Tim Ritvo, the president of Gulfstream, said on Monday that the purposes of the talks were to “avoid dates conflicts and agree on a racing schedule that would complement each track.”

The two tracks began racing head-to-head this summer, creating stress on the local horse population and leading to significant declines in the tracks’ average daily handle figures.

John Marshall, the general manager of racing at Calder, said that Calder remains committed to running during the coming winter months. Calder is owned by Churchill Downs Inc., a public company, while Gulfstream is owned by the Stronach Group, a private company controlled by the billionaire horse owner and breeder Frank Stronach.

“Whether or not we get [an agreement] largely depends on the Stronach Group and their willingness to work on behalf of the state’s racing industry,” Marshall said. “We’re doing fine.”

Michael Lagrossa More than 1 year ago
Don't blame Calder and Gulfstream for the this mess. Blame the Florida Racing Commission for letting it happen. They should take a stand and tell the tracks you have to keep the same racing seasons they have had in previous years. This has also affected Tampa's racing. I believe Calder is the only track with a casino that had to lower their purses, Florida Racing Commission take a stand!
Jerome More than 1 year ago
There shouldn't even BE a Florida Racing Commission. Race tracks (except NYRA) are private enterprise and should schedule racing whenever they want to. They should not need permission from the gov't to run a business whether a race track or any other business. Let the market decide if someone is successful or not. Nor should the gov't be taxing wagers. Taxes should be on PROFITS not on wagers. The only legitimate interest the gov't has in (racing) business is to protect the public from fraud, and in some cases, public safety. That goes for all states and all business.
Sal Carcia More than 1 year ago
The class of racing at this point last year was dramatically better at Gulfstream than it is this year. I think we are kidding ourselves if we are thinking this dispute is not hurting Gulfstream. I don't even remember what this dispute is about.
Jerome More than 1 year ago
So what if it hurts Gulfstream; TS. If they continue, fine. If they go broke, fine.
wil.... H More than 1 year ago
Florida horsemen support CDI in this fight. Stronach is nuts and most agree on that.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
They dont pay the bills. What they think doesnt matter. The bettors and where they play does.
Jim McGrath More than 1 year ago
Calder has not done anything to continue to attract new/old "horse" clients. Their focus is on the Casino. What improvements has Calder made to it's present facility for horse players. Majority of the time, the nicer areas are closed! Calder staying open and racing against Gulfstream only hurts Tampa! Though Gulfstream is not really that "Thoroughbred" fan friendly for watching live racing, it is at least CLEAN, attractive, convenient by rail or auto, has GREAT racing is CONSTANTLY making improvements (the dining area over looking the walking ring is great) . At the end of the day, you don't have to drive 10-15 miles for entertainment. AND most important it is S A F E.!!!
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Walter More than 1 year ago
I seem to remember that GP went after Hialeah's racing dates well before Stronach owned it. It was in the late 80s/early 90s when this happened. Shame anyway because Hia is a beautiful place. My guess is there will be a resurgence of Hia in the near future.
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
I hope so...maybe I will finally get the motivation to come down from Michigan and visit.
Jim McGrath More than 1 year ago
Calder was the track that ran against Hialeah when Hialeah had the "middle dates" of the then 3 tracks. Gulfstream had the early dates. This happened when they deregulated the racing dates! Stronach was not involved.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
"We're doing fine" say Marshall just a few days after the cancelled the 125 Thousand dollar La Prevoyante for fear it would upset the balance sheet at meets' end. Gulfstream wrote an extra race for Jan 2 with similar conditions. It should be noted that when it was Hialeah in competition with Gulfstream for the middle dates, that every year Gulfstream showed better numbers and thus were awarded those precious mid-winter dates. CDI/Calder is trying to make their hole... and just might be.
Jay Stone More than 1 year ago
This is a conflict in name only. The difference between the horse populations and The racing is off the charts. The differences in handle is staggering. Most of the horses that are remaining at Calder could not race competitively at Gulfstream. Calder racing on Mondays and Tuesdays is not a bad idea to give them enough days for their casino license. If most people saw the backside of Calder they would be appalled. The living quarters for the help at Calder make Gulfstream's look like the Ritz. Stronach, despite his eccentricity, is the only hope for Florida racing. He pours his own money into the game, is a major breeder, and loves the game. Corporate giant, CDI. is a public company which must show a profit. Except for the Kentucky Derby they have proven they don't want to be in racing. The best scenario for Florida racing would be to somehow get Hialeah Park back into the mix with a 40 day meet with Gulfstream running 4 days a week before and after Hialeah.
Old timer More than 1 year ago
This sport is in serious trouble... and Mr. Stronach is not helping it one bit IMHO. Neverhteless I do not believe that there is enough demand for any more than one track in South Florida. Run December thru March or early April and call it good.
wolves More than 1 year ago
Ironic that CDI speaks about "their willingness to work on behalf of the state’s racing industry". CDI, in their effort to put Hawthorne out of business, has put the entire industry in Illinois in jeopardy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Actually the racing commission and the state representatives have put the entire industry in jeopardy. They will not even vote on race dates.
AzPokerPlayer More than 1 year ago
You want to do something right for a change...raise takeout by 2% and give 1% to the jockeys disability fund and 1% to the retired race horse fund so these animals can have a decent life after they give their life day end and day out on the track...I will be happy to pay the 2% in my takeout fee for this...don't talk about it just do it...watching millionaire horses race for 8k claiming at 11yrs old makes me sick...The horses deserve this and the people in charge owe it to them and if they feel otherwise then sell and get out because your not welcome.
wolves More than 1 year ago
why can't these jockeys fund themselves? Many of them are making millions per year. In case of the horses, | agree that something should be done for them. Instead of taxing the players who are already doing all of the heavy lifting, take 1% of the purse money and direct it towards a retirement plan. After all, 14k claimers at Aqueduct race for 62k.
Walter More than 1 year ago
AZ, Stick to playing poker. You are clearly not a horseplayer.
Nathan More than 1 year ago
raise take-outs????????????????????