Calder Race Course announced Oct. 3 a 15% reduction in overnight purses to take effect Oct. 8. This purse cut is in response to the economic trends evident across the industry and in Florida.
A turn-around in weather conditions or a bounce-back in the industry trends may allow overnights to regain original meet levels during the Tropical Meet. Summer rains caused 33 of 40 turf races to be lost in September alone, resulting in smaller fields and, therefore, affecting the wagering handle. A total of 127 of 216 turf races have been lost year-to-date (58%). Calder officials and horsemen said the purse committee will continue re-evaluating the overnight purse position.
Anticipation of purse effects of slots and card room operations remains high and the casino project remains on schedule.
“Our team at Calder is working diligently to get our slots and poker operations up and running as soon as possible, which we expect to add significant dollars to our purse account in the future,” said John Marshall, vice president and general manager of racing.
In addition to the overnight purse reduction, the remaining stakes schedule has been reduced by $375,000.
The affected stakes are:
• Calder Derby reduced from $150,000 to $100,000
• Calder Oaks reduced from $100,000 to $75,000
• $100,000 Frances Genter Handicap cancelled for 2009 (Tropical Meet)
• $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap cancelled for 2009 (Tropical Meet)
• $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks cancelled for 2009 (Tropical Meet)
The Florida Stallion Stakes series at Calder, which culminates on Oct. 17, is unaffected.