Gulfstream Park has scheduled a Quarter Horse race for April 8, and is doing that in what the track’s president and general manager Timothy Ritvo said is an effort to make sure that it can retain its permit for such racing.
By holding two races under its Quarter Horse permit during a Florida fiscal year (July 1 to June 30), Gulfstream can remain eligible to use that permit to apply for a second casino license. It has two casino rooms in its racing/restaurant building.
In a recent report to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, Gulfstream listed one of its Dec. 31, 2011 Thoroughbred races as a “substitute race” under its Quarter Horse permit. Thus, the April 8 race will be its second Quarter Horse race for 2011-2012.
Officials of Gulfstream and of its parent Stronach Group have said they are considering the construction of a hotel, with a casino, on the track’s property in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Gulfstream’s Quarter Horse race will be at 6:25 p.m., 20 minutes after it runs the final race of its 2011-2012 Thoroughbred meet. Calder Casino & Race Course, eight miles from Gulfstream, will open its 2012 season April 9.
The Gulfstream race will have just two horses. They will be running 220 yards for a $3,000 purse.
Gulfstream had scheduled a Quarter Horse race for Dec. 31, 2011, but canceled it after meetings with the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. That horsemen’s group has objected to Gulfstream’s plans to hold Quarter Horse races. (Related story).
In a statement April 6, Ritvo said:
“Gulfstream Park has been advised by counsel to exercise our second permit on closing day, April 8, or face the consequence of revocation of the permit in the future. Since December, we have worked in good faith with the horsemen on this subject. We will continue to work with the horsemen and will continue welcoming their input and suggestions.”
He added: “We strongly believe protecting our second permit will be beneficial and essential to the Thoroughbred industry in the future. There should be no doubting Gulfstream Park’s commitment to Thoroughbred racing.”