Gulfstream Park would be willing to consider a partial change in southeast Florida’s racing calendar, a top official of Gulfstream’s parent MI Developments said Jan. 5, opening day of the track’s 2011.
Mike Rogers, MID’s vice president for racing and gaming, said earlier in the day he left a “We’d like to talk” phone message with Bill Carstanjen, chief operating officer of Calder Casino & Race Course parent company Churchill Downs Inc.
“We’d like to talk about how we feel that maybe a change might be good for all concerned,” said Rogers, MID’s designated spokesman on the dates issue.
A Calder official said Jan. 5 the track would have no comment.
For 20 years, Calder has been the only Thoroughbred track to race in December in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market.
But in a preliminary filing on Dec. 31, Gulfstream told Florida racing regulators it plans to race from Dec. 2, 2011, to April 8, 2012. Calder’s filing with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, listed April 25, 2011, through Jan. 4, 2012.
“By December, our trainers and their horses from northern states are down here,” Rogers said.
He noted that Gulfstream’s purses during its early weeks are higher than Calder’s purses during December.
When asked if Gulfstream and MID would consider a “swap” of some of its traditional April dates for some of Calder’s traditional December dates, Rogers said: “We would like to sit down and talk, and would consider that and other things that might be good for all concerned.”
Calder plans to run its traditional December dates in 2011, regardless of Gulfstream’s plans, John Marshall, Calder vice president and general manager of racing, said Jan. 4.