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Calder Releases Stakes Schedule

The Calder Meet and Tropical Meet combine to offer stakes worth more than $6 million

Calder Casino & Race Course on March 25 announced the stakes schedules for its 2010 Calder Meet and 2010-2011 Tropical Meet.

Calder will begin its stakes calendar on April 25, with the $100,000 Miami Mile Handicap (gr. IIIT). That will be opening day for the Miami Gardens, Fla., track’s 40th season.

The Miami Mile will be one of 50 stakes, all with purses of $65,000 or more, during Calder’s back-to-back meets that will run through Jan. 2, 2011.

Calder’s schedule shows its major multi-stakes days of the Summit of Speed, Festival of the Sun and Florida Million in their traditional spots on the calendar.

However, Calder has joined several other tracks in reducing the purses on some of its stakes.

The six Florida Stallion Stakes races, two series for 2-year-olds, are among Calder stakes on which purses will be lower in 2010.

Those cuts in purses are due to declines in nominations for the two series, Calder officials said. The Florida Stallion Stakes are restricted to sons and daughters of Florida-based stallions.  Purses include ongoing sustaining payments for nominated horses, beginning with their weanling years.

On Aug. 7, the Dr. Fager (open division) and Desert Vixen (fillies division) will have purses of $75,000. For several years, both races had $100,000 purses.

On Aug. 28, the Affirmed (open division) and Susan’s Girl (fillies division) will have purses of $125,000--down from $150,000 in recent years.

On Oct. 16, the In Reality (open division) and My Dear Girl (fillies division) will have purses of $375,000--down from $400,000 in recent years.

The Calder Meet offers 33 stakes worth $4,145,000 and the Tropical Meet will feature 17 stakes totaling $1,915,000, for a combined stakes program worth $6,060,000.

Of those 50 stakes, 34 have purses of $100,000 or more. For 2009, a total of 42 of Calder’s 51 scheduled stakes had purses of $100,000 or more.

The 2010 Calder Meet stakes schedule features five special racing event days that showcase various divisions.

The Summit of Speed, to be held on July 10, presents seven sprint stakes, including four graded stakes and two Breeders’ Cup challenge races.

The $350,000 Princess Rooney (gr. I) Handicap and the $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races, with the winner of each race automatically qualifying for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I), respectively.

The $25.5 million Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held November 5-6 at Churchill Downs.

The purses for the Princess Rooney and Smile also were $350,000 in 2009.

The Festival of the Sun will be held on October 16. The finales of the Florida Stallion Stakes will be among seven stakes that day. 

The Festival of the Sun also features the 100,000 Spend a Buck Handicap (gr. III), a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I).

“Preview” days for both the Summit of Speed and Festival of the Sun are also on the schedule (June 12 and Sept. 25).

Calder’s “Juvenile Showcase,” a day dedicated entirely to 2-year-old Thoroughbreds and the sport’s emerging stars, is slated for Aug. 28. The Juvenile Showcase, with six stakes races, features the middle legs of the Florida Stallion Stakes program.

The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association contributes funding to 13 of the stakes on the Calder Meet schedule for registered Florida-breds.

In addition, the Florida TBOA provides funding for each of the stakes of the Florida Million, which will be held on Nov. 13 during the Tropical Meet. The day has eight stakes, worth a total $1 million, for registered Florida-breds.

Eight graded stakes races are featured during the Tropical Meet, including turf fixtures such as the $100,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Dec. 11 and the $150,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) on Dec. 18.

The $65,000 Tropical Park Oaks and the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) are scheduled for Jan. 1, 2011, giving newly turned 3-year-olds their first stakes opportunities of the new year.

The 2010 meet will be Calder’s first with the casino it opened on Jan. 22.

Under its agreement with the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Calder in 2010 will contribute $4.75 million of its casino’s slot machines revenue to race purses. That money will be distributed entirely to overnight purses.  Florida HBPA officials estimate that will average an additional $30,000 per race day.

“We are again offering stakes with more than $6 million in purses,” said Calder spokeswoman Michele Blanco. “This will be the first full year when we will have our poker room and casino, along with live racing.”

Calder opened a poker room last October.