Florida horsemen are again on the offensive after the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering granted a license to Gretna Racing despite a court ruling that said Quarter Horse barrel racing violates state law.
Horse racing interests said June 6 the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation will not appeal a court ruling that called into question pari-mutuel barrel racing at Gretna Racing and Hamilton Downs.
Calder Casino & Race Course is optimistic it will strike a deal with Gulfstream Park to call off the head-to-head weekend racing they are scheduled to begin in July, Calder general manager John Marshall said.
Agreement is expected for Gulfstream Park to take over part of Calder's operations and assume a large number of Calder's race dates starting in July 2013.
Calder Casino & Race Course and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association May 9 reached an agreement that extends their purse contract through the end of the month.
Though Calder Casino & Race Course can't export its signal outside of Florida, the Florida HBPA indicated it doesn't expect other horsemen's groups to immediately pull their consent for signals to be sent to Calder.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said it revoked simulcast approval for Calder Casino & Race Course April 30 when the two parties failed to agree on a purse contract.
Gulfstream Park officials said April 25 that there is no truth to rumors that its parent The Stronach Group has reached an agreement to buy Calder Casino & Race Course from its parent Churchill Downs Inc.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is working with Gulfstream Park and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to secure a three-year contract for the Claiming Crown.
The Florida Senate Committee on Gaming took more testimony Feb. 4 in an effort to shape future policy on expanded gambling in the state.
The Florida HBPA said Jan. 1 Gulfstream Park has agreed to continue to pay for stall rent through the end of February for Calder Casino & Race Course-stabled horses that race at Gulfstream.
Gretna Racing in Gretna, Fla., has resumed its controversial pari-mutuel barrel racing under a Quarter Horse license, and it is preparing to start its first simulcast signals.
A plan to start charging rent for stalls during the non-racing season at Calder is leading to concerns among horsemen that some owners might permanently ship horses out of Florida and that some smaller stables could close.
In an announcement Sept. 28, Calder Casino & Race Course said that effective Dec. 1, 2012, it will charge a stabling fee of $10 per stall per day during its off-season months when it does not have live racing.
Florida's administrative court set a timetable of late November 2012 for a ruling that could determine whether Gretna Racing LLC in Florida can continue to use a Quarter Horse racing permit for pari-mutuel barrel racing.
The Florida Division of Administrative Hearings ended a four-day hearing June 29 without issuing a ruling on whether Gretna Racing LLC can continue to use a Quarter Horse racing license to hold pari-mutuel barrel racing.
William Stirling Jr., a retired trainer and father of Florida racing official Kent Stirling, died June 12 in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada.
Calder Casino & Race Course announced that beginning June 14 it will charge rent to grooms and hotwalkers who live in dorm rooms on its backside.
Gulfstream Park held a Quarter Horse race April 8, following the last race of its 2011-2012 Thoroughbred meet.
Going against a request from Thoroughbred horsemen, Gulfstream Park has scheduled a Quarter Horse event to open its Dec. 31 program, the first such race in the history of the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track.
A key Florida horsemen's association could take legal action against Gulfstream Park over decision to run Quarter Horse races during Thoroughbred meet.
The Gadsden County Florida Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Gretna Racing LLC's request to authorize a referendum.
In an application that is generating controversy over the use of racing permits, a Quarter Horse permit-holder in Gretna, Fla., has asked the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering for permission to hold barrel racing.
Gulfstream Park has not set a timetable for possible future contact with Florida racing regulators on chairman Frank Stronach's goal of phasing out use of legal race-day medications such as the anti-bleeding drug Salix.
Calder Casino & Race Course has increased some purses 5% beginning with its July 21 program. It is the second purse increase in roughly a month.
Sam Gordon resigned as president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association July 14 citing "personal reasons" in a letter, organization officials said July 15.
Calder Casino & Race Course and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's board of directors June 3 jointly announced a 7.5% purse increase beginning with Calder's June 3 race card.
Funding reductions for operations and benevolence brought on by horse racing's economic woes have led numerous affiliates of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protection Association to reconsider NTRA membership.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association March 15 announced the results of an election for its board of directors, each of which will serve three-year terms.
The biggest issue at Calder Casino & Race Course Jan. 4, closing day of its 2010-11 meet, was a fast-brewing and potentially bitter dispute with Gulfstream Park over southeast Florida's attractive December racing dates.
Gulfstream Park will open its 2011 racing meet Jan. 5 with a new Sunday date for the Florida Derby (gr. I), other changes in its stakes schedule, and new multi-race bets highlighted by a 10-cent only Pick 6.
Gulfstream Park is considering a 3 p.m. first post time for the last six Fridays of its 2011 racing season, according to the track's president and general manager.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has honored longtime president Sam Gordon as man of the year, while Herb Elkins got the organization's lifetime achievement award.
Gulfstream Park on Dec. 16 announced its 2011 wagering menu that will include its first Pick 5, with a 50-cent minimum bet, and a major reduction of its Pick 6 minimum bet from $2 to 10 cents.
Calder Casino & Race Course announced on June 12 that it will raise purses 10% on all non-stakes races beginning June 17.
Sam Gordon has been elected to his sixth one-year term as president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
Wagering in Florida on Calder Race Course's recently concluded eight-month season fell 11.7% from its previous season.
At least five Florida positives for a widely-used therapeutic tranquilizer have horsemen's groups on edge.
Ken Dunn, formerly of Calder Casino & Race Course, has joined the Gulfstream Park management team, the South Florida racetrack announced Nov. 2.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said on Oct. 5 that it is "extremely disappointed" by Calder Race Course's Oct. 3 announcement that it will cut overnight purses 15% beginning on Oct. 8.
All-sources handle at Calder Race Course rose 48%, from $131.4 million to $195 million, during this year's second quarter, according to parent company Churchill Downs in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. But Calder's handle for the quarter ended June 30 was 22% below its handle of $249 million for the second quarter of 2007.
Calder Race Course is preparing to open its 2009 season on April 24, but as of April 7 the track's parent Churchill Downs Inc. had not signed a purse contract with the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
Gulfstream Park said March 27 it will run its next meet from Jan. 3, 2010 to April 24, 2010, ending speculation it could seek dates in November and December of 2009.
Sam Gordon was elected March 24 to serve his fifth term as president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
Five people were elected to the 15-member Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in the organization's 2009 election.
Calder Race Course said Feb. 9 it has begun application of a new elastomeric coating to 60 barn roofs in the track's stable area, a project that will help reduce stable temperatures normally hiked by the South Florida sun.
In December, the Florida Research Institute for Equine Nurturing Development and Safety, a horse rescue ranch in Broward County, Fla., was unable to foot its bills, and as a result, was nearly forced to close its doors. Thanks in part to several recent donations -- including $10,000 from the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association -- the facility has been able to keep afloat in spite of the dismal economy.
Jockeys at Gulfstream Park as well as Calder Race Course will receive an increase in losing-mount fees beginning Jan. 15.
Calder Race Course will not hold any overnight stakes through the rest of its meet that ends Jan. 2, 2009. Five have been cut from the next condition book, which runs through Dec. 14.
- By Jim Freer
Churchill Downs Inc. and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association announced on Sept. 10 that they have reached an agreement on a contract for future slot machine revenue at CDI-owned Calder Race Course.
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