South Florida Horse Tracks Fail To Reach Agreement Over Head-To-Head Schedules
Thursday's deadline for Gulfstream Park and Calder Casino & Race Course to reach an agreement on future racing dates passed with the two sided failing to reach an agreement, and "as a result both are scheduled to have racing every Saturday and Sunday from July 1 through June 30, 2014,” according to Freer & Spencer of the MIAMI HERALD. Calder and Gulfstream officials “were seeking ways to avoid head-to-head racing” for the tracks that are “just eight miles apart.” The “expansion-minded Gulfstream had offered Calder economic incentives, including paying some costs for its stables and better divisions of some simulcast revenues to relinquish some race dates.” The dispute “began in December when Gulfstream said it planned to keep its regular December-to-April schedule and add racing on Saturdays and Sundays in the other months.” Calder’s season has been “from early April through November.” Questions remain “about whether there will be enough horses and fans for either track to be profitable during the summer” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/1). DAILY RACING FORM’s Matt Hegarty noted 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.” Gulfstream GM Timothy Ritvo earlier on Thursday said that track 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” (DRF.com, 2/28). BLOODHORSE’s Jim Freer noted Calder and Gulfstream under Florida laws can “cancel scheduled race dates only in the case of a natural disaster or with approval of the five other pari-mutuels within their 50-mile radius” (BLOODHORSE.com, 2/28).