Florida’s three Thoroughbred tracks have made their preliminary filings for 2010-2011 race dates, and all have announced plans to run schedules almost identical to their current or recent meets.
Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, and Calder Race Course submitted preliminary date filings to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering by the Jan. 4 deadline. March 31 is the deadline for Thoroughbred permit holders to amend filings for dates--for races to be run during the period between June 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011.
Since a 2002 change in state law, Florida Thoroughbred tracks have been able to select their race dates. In prior years, state racing regulators determined dates for those tracks.
Here are the dates each track listed in preliminary filings:
* Calder -- June 4, 2010 to Oct. 19, 2010 for Calder meet; Oct. 21, 2010 to Jan. 2, 2011 for Tropical at Calder meet; April 25, 2011 to May 30, 2011 for Calder meet
* Gulfstream Park -- Jan. 3, 2011 to April 24, 2011
* Tampa Bay Downs – Dec. 11, 2010 to May 8, 2011
Unlike in early 2009, the recent preliminary filings do not hold out the prospect of Gulfstream and Calder running against each other several weeks. The two tracks are about eight miles apart, in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.
In a preliminary filing last January, Gulfstream told the Florida DPMW it planned to run from Nov. 26, 2009, through April 18, 2010. That would have had Gulfstream running the same dates as Calder during the last five of 29 weeks.
On March 27, Gulfstream amended its filing--and picked Jan. 3 through April 24 as its dates.
Bill Murphy, then Gulfstream’s president and general manager, said Gulfstream decided not to race during the last five weeks of 2009 primarily to prevent a conflict for South Florida horsemen and for some employees who work at both Calder and Gulfstream. He said the March 5, 2009 filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection by Magna Entertainment, Gulfstream’s parent, also was a factor in Gulfstream’s decision to not expand its racing calendar.