Calder Casino & Race Course said it will reduce overnight purses 12% effective Aug. 30 because of changes in the Florida Thoroughbred racing landscape.
Track officials in an Aug. 25 release said the ongoing overlap of live racing dates with Gulfstream Park and a new interpretation of statutes governing simulcast hosts have led to the reduction. The interpretation by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has allowed Gulfstream and Tampa Bay Downs to serve as year-round simulcast hosts; traditionally Calder has been the lone host for roughly eight months a year.
The minimum overnight purse will fall to $10,500. Stakes purses for the Tropical Park-at-Calder meet this fall will "reduce slightly," officials said, but no stakes will be cut from the now $2.5 million schedule.
"Purse dollars reflected in this cut have not evaporated," Calder vice president and general manager of racing John Marshall said in the release. "The state's delay in addressing the issue enables purse dollars earned today to shift to other racetracks in the state, to be withheld from horsemen who are actually running live races, and to be paid in a future race meet.
"Neither Calder nor Gulfstream's racing product can sustain existing purse levels while overlapping without purse reduction or independent subsidy."
Calder races three days a week, while Gulfstream races two days a week. The overlap comes on Saturdays and Sundays.
Gulfstream already has subsidized purses and offered starting bonuses to trainers.
Since July 1, start of the fiscal year in Florida, Calder has raced 24 days with average daily purses of $219,763 and average field size of 7.19 horses per race, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. Gulfstream has raced 18 days during the period, with average daily purses of $248,019 and average field size of 7.40.