03/26/2009 11:00PM

Gulfstream seeks familiar dates


After contemplating expanding its racing schedule in 2010, Gulfstream Park officials opted to maintain the status quo for another year when they filed a final dates application with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering earlier this week.

According to the track's president, Bill Murphy, Gulfstream will open its 2010 season on Jan. 3 and close on April 24, thereby avoiding any potential head-to-head conflict with nearby Calder Race Course. Gulfstream will again operate on a Wednesday-through-Sunday racing schedule.

Murphy said he has had discussions with officials from Calder and representatives of the Florida Horseman's Benevolent Association throughout the winter regarding the possibility of Gulfstream reopening in December of 2009 and running through March of 2010. To avoid a conflict, Calder would give up its December dates in exchange for opening on April 1.

"We were hoping to be able to reach some sort of dates compromise with Calder for next season, but it got to the point where we didn't want to put either the horsemen or our employees in the middle at this time," Murphy explained. "It does remain our goal to expand our racing schedule at some point in the future. We need to have more racing dates at Gulfstream, although they have to be at the right time of the year. I believe opening around Thanksgiving and closing at the end of March is what's best for us from a business standpoint."

Calder officials said they have until March 31 to amend their 2010 dates schedule and would have no further comment on the matter until that time.