Gulfstream Back, But Horsemen Have Own Plans

Though Magna Entertainment has rejoined the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association doesn't expect to be an NTRA member during the current meet at Gulfstream Park, a Magna-owned facility.

Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida HBPA, said he doesn't believe the organization will pay NTRA dues during the Gulfstream meet for a couple of reasons: The Hallandale track already has an extensive event schedule geared toward newcomers and families, and Florida horsemen have their own marketing plan.

The Florida HBPA is a member of the NTRA during the mid-May through December schedule at Calder Race Course, which runs the most live dates of any track in the state. Stirling said the decision to remain an NTRA member while Calder is open "wasn't a slam dunk."

The Gulfstream decision could be revisited at some point, Stirling said.
Magna's seven racetracks, which agreed to a two-year deal with the NTRA in mid-January, will add about $1 million to the 2001 budget for the NTRA and Breeders' Cup. In a change quickly made when Magna rejoined the NTRA, the Feb. 3 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream was added to the ESPN television schedule.