Stakes Purses to be Trimmed at Calder

Stakes Purses to be Trimmed at Calder
Photo: Leslie Martin
Calder Race Course announced May 9 that it will cut purses for eight upcoming stakes races, including the July 12 Summit of Speed card, blaming the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association’s continued refusal to approve the distribution of Calder races to out-of-state wagering outlets, including advance-deposit wagering companies.

The most recent trims follow a sizable purse cut of 30% that went into effect on April 27.

“We continue to be disheartened that the Florida horsemen are blocking out-of-state wagering on Calder’s races, and although we regret having to implement further purse cuts, it is a move that must be made in light of our current business situation,” said Steve Sexton, executive vice president of Churchill Downs Incorporated, Calder’s parent company.

In a statement, Sexton added: “Both the Florida horsemen and Calder continue to lose handle daily, and customers who enjoy wagering on Calder races are being unjustly penalized as a result of this situation. We continue to hope that the Florida horsemen will reconsider their stance of not discussing a purse contract until a slots agreement is reached, despite the fact no slots will be operational in 2008. Unfortunately, if this impasse continues we will have to make some difficult decisions regarding additional reductions to the overnight purses as well.”

The $100,000 Memorial Day Handicap (gr. III) on May 26 has been reduced to an overnight stakes with a value of $36,000, as has the $100,000 Mecke Handicap on July 4.

The Summit of Speed program purse reductions include the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) to $400,000; the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) to $400,000; the $300,000 Azalea Stakes (gr. III) to $250,000; the $300,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) to $250,000; the $100,000 J J's Dream Stakes to $36,000; and the $100,000 Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes to $36,000.

The only wagering outlets currently permitted to accept wagers on Calder Race Course are simulcast outlets within the state of Florida and New York Off-Track Betting facilities.

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