Gulfstream Using Fridays for Simulcast Test

Gulfstream is experimenting with sending its signal to local betting outlets.

Effective April 8 Gulfstream Park for the last three Fridays of its current meet is sending the simulcast signal of its full live card to Greyhound track Magic City Casino and to harness track Isle Casino & Racing at Pompano Park. All three tracks are in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market.

Gulfstream’s nine-race cards for those three days, which it is promoting as “twilight racing,” are scheduled from 3-6:55 p.m. EDT.  Gulfstream’s first post is 12:55 p.m. on other days.

“This is a test to see what kind of market there is for the Gulfstream signal, and we will be interested in this or perhaps something expanded next year,” said Scott Savin, chief operating officer of Magic City.

In a statement to The Blood-Horse, Gulfstream president Steve Calabro said: “It’s an experiment for those three Fridays. It’s just another example of trying to move the sport forward and expanding Thoroughbred racing and the Gulfstream Park brand in South Florida.”

Officials of Isle at Pompano Park could not be reached for comment.

Florida law prohibits a Thoroughbred track from sending any signals prior to 6 p.m. to any other pari-mutuel outlet within a 50-mile radius without a specific contract. Savin said that during the week of April 4 Magic City reached an agreement with Gulfstream that also was approved by the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Gulfstream will end its 2011 meet April 24, and is racing Thursdays through Sundays.

On April 8, 15, and 22 Magic City and Isle are receiving all nine Gulfstream races but no pre-6 p.m. signals from other Thoroughbred tracks for which Gulfstream is host. On days other than the three Fridays, Gulfstream will not send its signal or any other pre-6 p.m. signals to Magic City or to Isle Pompano Park.

A Florida law prohibits Thoroughbred tracks from having live races after 7 p.m. Gulfstream officials have told The Blood-Horse they hope the Florida legislature will change that law during its annual session that ends May 6.

If the law is changed, Gulfstream would consider installing lights and having some races after 7 p.m. during its 2011-12 season that begins Dec. 3. Gulfstream officials have said they do not plan to hold post-7 p.m. races on Saturdays or Sundays.

Savin said he and Gulfstream officials began talking several weeks ago about possibly letting Magic City take the Gulfstream signal on the three Fridays.

“Both of us want to see if this will draw some new bettors for the Gulfstream product,” said Savin, a former president and general manager of Gulfstream. “We are looking at factors including convenience for fans. On many days, it takes 30 or 40 minutes to get from here to Gulfstream. Some of our fan base lives south of us."