Gulfstream Park went on the offensive in its dispute with Calder Casino & Race Course Feb. 24 when it said it plans to race year-round during the 12 months beginning July 1.
Gulfstream officials announced that plan following a meeting at the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track with Frank Stronach, chairman of Gulfstream and of its parent MI Developments (MID).
Stronach later left for Louisville, Gulfstream officials said. On Feb. 25 he is scheduled to meet with Bill Carstanjen, chief operating officer of Churchill Downs Inc., the parent of Calder.
Gulfstream hopes the meeting will help resolve some issues between the two tracks, said Tim Ritvo, Gulfstream’s vice president of racing.
Gulfstream and Calder have until Feb. 28 to resolve a dispute in which both have said they will hold racing in December 2011.
By Feb. 28, each track must submit its final date filing to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering for the 12 months beginning July 1.
Florida Thoroughbred tracks choose their own dates, with automatic approval from the Florida DPMW.
Calder officials declined comment Feb. 24.
Gulfstream traditionally races from early January through late April. Calder, in Miami Gardens, Fla., traditionally races the remainder of each year.
On Feb. 22, Calder said it will consider filing for year-round dates for the 12 months beginning July 1.
Ritvo said that Gulfstream’s preliminary plan starting July 1 is to run twice a week.
“But that could increase depending on the horse population,” he said.
That points to another Calder-Gulfstream issue.
On Feb. 22, Calder announced that starting Feb. 26 it will not allow Calder-stabled horses that race at Gulfstream during its current meet to re-enter Calder without prior written approval from Calder’s racing secretary.
Calder’s new policy applies to all horses except those that are vanned from Calder to Gulfstream for graded stakes.
Gulfstream responded on Feb. 23 by saying it plans to add approximately 200 temporary stalls in its stable area for trainers who send horses from Calder to run in Gulfstream races.
Gulfstream expects to have the temporary stalls ready by Feb. 26.
In addition, about 250 stalls for horses that leave Calder will be available within several days after March 3 at the Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach, Fla. On March 3, Palm Meadows, also owned by MID, will be the site of the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale, and horses in that sale will then leave the training center.
On Feb. 24, Ritvo said: “I have received calls from more than 25 trainers in just the past few hours, asking about relocating (from Calder) and stabling here at Gulfstream.”
Ritvo said Gulfstream is adding stalls and preparing to run year-round because Stronach “believes in free enterprise.”
“Mr. Stronach believes that Calder is holding its horsemen hostage,” Ritvo said. “Horses stabled at Gulfstream will never be prohibited from racing at the other venue (Calder).”