Calder is set to open April 24.

Calder is set to open April 24.

Jim Lisa Photos

Calder to Begin 2009 Season April 24

Calder Race Course opens for live racing April 24.

from Calder Race Course

Calder Race Course begins its 39th season of Thoroughbred horse racing April 24 with a Thursday-through Sunday schedule.

The South Florida track offers two consecutive meets, the 108-day Calder meet followed immediately by the 52-day Tropical meet.  This year’s opening weekend offers two turf stakes and a premium giveaway.

First post time will be 12:40 p.m. EDT. The track remains open for full-card simulcasts seven days and nights a week, and offers a new menu of racing from South America.

Calder stakes action begins April 25 with two graded turf stakes: the $100,000 Miami Mile Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the $150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIT). A customized Calder utility tool set is the featured giveaway item to existing Twin Spires Club members, as well as fans who sign up for the players’ rewards program that day (while supplies last).

On May 1-2, Calder will simulcast the Kentucky Oaks and Derby (both gr. I) from Churchill Downs. First post for live racing May 2 is 12:25 p.m. at Calder.

With the start of the new season, racing fans will learn more about Calder’s progress with its future slot-machine operation. On Jan. 29, 2008, voters in Miami-Dade County approved a referendum to allow slots limited to the existing horse and dog tracks and jai-alai frontons in Miami-Dade County, including Calder Race Course.

Since then, leadership teams of Calder and parent company Churchill Downs Inc. have been working through the design, planning, permitting, and licensing processes for the construction of a new 104,000-square-foot facility with a target groundbreaking in May. The grand opening goal is January 2010, prior to Super Bowl XLIV and Pro Bowl games at neighboring Dolphin Stadium.