02/16/2011 5:46PM

Gulfstream, horsemen reach pact through 2012


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Gulfstream Park and the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association have reached an agreement on a purse contract that will run from March 1 through December of 2012.

The 2011 meet opened on Jan. 5 with a contract that was to expire on Feb. 28. The temporary agreement existed while the track and horsemen ironed out some details on several issues that prevented them from signing a more permanent contract before the current session opened.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far with this partnership,” said Tim Ritvo, vice president of racing for MI Developments, the track’s owner. “By putting the contract issue in the past we can move forward and accomplish bigger and better things.”

Among the concessions the horsemen made was to allow Gulfstream Park to run races until 9 p.m. one or two days per week in the future if legislation is ultimately passed that would allow it to do so. Under the current law, no live races can begin at Gulfstream Park after 7 p.m.

“In general, the horsemen have agreed to free us up to operate or restructure our business model at Gulfstream in a manner that would be beneficial to both parties,” said Ritvo. “In addition to extended post times, that could also include sponsorships and possible alteration in take outs.”

Samuel Gordon, president of the horsemen’s group, said he was happy that a long term contract with Gulfstream had finally been achieved.

“We’re delighted we’ve signed a long term agreement with Gulfstream and will now devote our efforts towards working on the problems within our industry,” said Gordon.