Gulfstream to Assist Calder-Based Horsemen
Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino will assist horsemen stabled at Calder Casino & Race Course by paying the stall rent of horses who participate at its meet during the month of December.
Gulfstream's announcement provides welcome "breathing room" on the stall rent issue, Phil Combest, president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said in a statement Dec. 4.
Combest added: "Many Calder horsemen were on the brink of going out of business because they simply cannot afford the fee. At the minimum, this move provides some breathing room. Again, many thanks to Gulfstream."
Calder announced the stall rent plan Sept. 28, saying it would charge the rent from Dec. 1 through April 5, 2013. Those are the days of Gulfstream's 2012-2013 meet.
It has since decided to charge the rent from Dec. 7 through March 17, 2013. Calder will begin its 2013 meet April 6.
It will stop the stall rents March 17 because by then Calder trainers will be working out horses for races at Calder, John Marshall, the track's vice president and general manager for racing said Nov. 30.
That would be the first stall rent in Calder's 42-year history. It will continue to not charge stall rent during its racing season, Marshall said.
Calder said Sept. 28 that it is charging non-racing season rent to add revenues amid ongoing declines in handle.
Calder has accepted applications for 1,500 stalls during its non-racing months, Marshall said.
He said Calder cannot speculate how many trainers will not pay rent until after Dec. 7, when first bills are due.
Gulfstream charges various stall rents, but waives them for a horse during a month when it races.
Officials of the Florida HBPA and of Calder, owned by Churchill Downs Inc., have held several meetings on stall rent. That has coincided with negotiations on Florida HBPA-Calder contracts that will expire Dec. 31 on purses, simulcasting, and ADWs.
Neither party would comment on the fact Calder has sought contract concessions in return for reductions in stall rent.
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