Calder Casino & Race Course announced on June 12 that it will raise purses 10% on all non-stakes races beginning June 17.
The Miami Gardens, Fla., track announced the purse increase in conjunction with its parent Churchill Downs Inc. and the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (FHBPA).
Base purses for overnight races, including allowance, maiden special weight, claiming, and maiden claiming events will be included in the 10% increase. Stakes races and overnight stakes are excluded from this purse increase.
Calder’s overnight purses in recent weeks have averaged about $165,000, said John Marshall, the track's vice president and general manager of racing. That average will be about $182,000 beginning June 17, he said.
In its announcement, Calder said it “has not been immune to declines in pari-mutuel wagering occurring across the country.”
However, Calder said its purse increase is made possible by alternative gaming purse supplements and the Florida gaming tax reduction going into effect July 1. On that day, the state tax on slot machine revenues will drop from 50% to 35% at Calder, Gulfstream Park and the three other southeast Florida pari-mutuels that have casinos.
“This purse increase is great news for the horsemen who compete at Calder,” Marshall said. “We thank our horsemen for their patience and cooperation over the last year during construction and the launch of the casino.”
Sam Gordon, president of the Florida HPBA said: “we are pleased with the efforts of our leadership at Calder to manage a purse increase at a time when our horsemen need it the most. We remain hopeful for trends that may lend to more increases in the future.”