by Jim Freer
Calder Race Course on May 9 announced it will cut purses for eight upcoming stakes, including six on its July 12 Summit of Speed card.
The South Florida track said it was forced to cut those purses “due to the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association’s continued refusal to approve the distribution of Calder races to out-of-state wagering outlets, including advance deposit wagering companies.” The announcement follows Calder’s overnight purse cut of 30% that went into effect April 27.
The Florida HBPA is among horsemen’s groups in several states that have not reached agreements with ADW companies and racetrack owners on 2008 contracts for splits of ADW revenue.
Calder, owned by Churchill Downs Inc., said the $100,000 Memorial Day Handicap (gr. III) May 26 has been reduced to an overnight stakes with a value of $36,000. Calder also has reduced the purse of the July 4 Mecke Handicap from $100,000 to $36,000.
The Summit of Speed, including four graded stakes, is one of Calder’s annual highlights.
Calder said purses for the six Summit of Speed stakes have been reduced as follows: the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) down to $400,000; the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) down to $400,000; the $300,000 Azalea Stakes (gr. III) down to $250,000; the $300,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) down to $250,000; the $100,000 J J's Dream Stakes down to $36,000; and the $100,000 Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes down to $36,000.
“We continue to be disheartened that the Florida horsemen are blocking out-of-state wagering on Calder’s races, and although we regret having to implement further purse cuts, it is a move that must be made in light of our current business situation,” CDI executive vice president of Steve Sexton said in statement. “Both the Florida horsemen and Calder continue to lose handle daily, and customers who enjoy wagering on Calder races are being unjustly penalized as a result of this situation."