Calder Race Course announced Dec. 12 that due to the continuing overpayment of purses at the current Tropical Meet, the racetrack is cancelling three stakes races from the schedule: the $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap (gr. III) and $100,000 Frances Genter Stakes (gr. III) on Dec. 27, and the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby (gr. III) on Jan. 1. The 2008/09 Tropical Meet ends on Jan. 2, 2009.
“Unfortunately, we have to take this action to lessen the overpaying of purses and to help balance the purse account,” said Kevin Flanery, senior vice president of Churchill Downs Incorporated, Calder’s parent company.
Reductions were made earlier in the year to daily purses and stakes races at both the Calder Meet and Tropical Meet due to lower than anticipated business levels. Various factors have contributed to the reductions, including a poor economy and the unavailability of wagering on Calder’s races through advance deposit wagering (ADW) platforms, such as TwinSpires.com, since the Calder Meet began on April 21.
A dispute with the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group continues to prevent Tropical Meet races from being offered to ADW platforms.
Stakes cancellations on the Tropical schedule were made in September and included the $100,000 Cherokee Frolic Stakes and $100,000 Kris S. Stakes (both Dec. 6); and the $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes and $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap (both Dec. 27). In addition, purses to the La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. II) and W.L. McKnight (gr. II) were reduced from $200,000 each to $150,000 apiece.
Calder will present the final four stakes races of the season this Saturday, Dec. 13. The four graded events comprise the track’s Grand Slam event: $150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. II), $150,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. II), $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III), and $100,000 Kenny Noe, Jr. Handicap (gr. III).