Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park

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Gulfstream, Horsemen Sign 'Summer' Contract

Another agreement will be necessary for the traditional meet that begins in December.

Gulfstream Park and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association announced July 16 they signed a contract for the current meet that runs through Nov. 28.

The "summer meet" began July 1 even though there was no horsemen's contract. Gulfstream this year decided to run head-to-head against neighboring Calder Casino & Race Course on weekends; the overlap actually will continue through next June unless the tracks strike a deal.

Gulfstream officials said the contract is for purses and "other operational matters." Another contract is needed for the traditional meet that begins in early December.

Gulfstream has slot machines from which horsemen and breeders derive revenue.

"Our agreement with the Florida HBPA reflects our common goals to build a stronger summer Thoroughbred program in Florida," Gulfstream president Tim Ritvo said in a release. "We're proud of what we've accomplished after just six summer racing days. We can see excitement and energy growing, and we can't wait to build on that over the next several months."

"The Florida HBPA board of directors is extremely pleased with the agreement we reached with Gulfstream," organization president Phil Combest said. "Not only are its conditions fair to the horsemen, but the contract includes incentives which address the ever-rising costs of worker's compensation insurance. And so far, all indications are that this is going to be a successful first summer season."

Pari-mutuel handle at Gulfstream has been considerably lower than it is during the winter/spring meet, but on most days has exceeded that of Calder. Beginning the weekend of July 20-21, however, the Gulfstream weekend signal will be up against product from Del Mar and Saratoga Race Course, which draw the most wagering action from late July through Labor Day.