03/28/2011 11:27AM

Owner Calabrese plans to keep horses in Florida this summer

Four-Footed Fotos
Owner Frank Calabrese plans to base his operation at Calder this summer.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The landscape of racing on the south Florida circuit could change dramatically this year, if owner Frank Calabrese follows through with his current plan to move his summer base of operation to Calder beginning with the opening of the 2011 meet on April 25.

Calabrese said Sunday he’s planning to send 60 horses to Calder when the meet opens next month, the majority with his main trainer, Nick Canani. Calabrese is the leading owner at the Gulfstream Park meeting, with Canani second in the trainer standings behind only Todd Pletcher.

“I’ve already talked to the people at Calder, and they’ve given me 60 stalls,” Calabrese said. “I’ll employ two or maybe even three trainers at the meet, with Nick having the main string.”

Calabrese, a resident of Illinois, has been a mainstay at Arlington Park during the summer but said finances have dictated a change in plans.

“I just can’t make any money in Chicago the way the purses are structured now,” Calabrese said. “It will cost me at least $60,000 or maybe more just to ship the ones I have here back there at the end of this meet and it will be impossible for me to make that kind of money up.”

Calabrese cited the new rule at Arlington to be instituted this coming season that reduces purses 15 percent if the field size is six or less as a major reason for his decision to remain in Florida after Gulfstream closes on April 24.

“If they have a five-horse field, they are going to take back some of the purse money and that scares me,” Calabrese said. “There’s no money in it anyway. I like the way John Marshall runs the track at Calder and Mike Anifantis is a good racing secretary. I’ve also got a residence down here and I’m planning on moving to this area on a permanent basis.”