By Jim Freer
Welcome to South Florida thoroughbred racing’s annual “eight miles west” shift for October and November.
Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach ended its summer racing meet on Sunday Sept. 29th. This week, we will have meet-ending stories on the racing and wagering there.
The Gulfstream Park West meet, at Calder in Miami Gardens, will open on Wednesday, October 2nd.
First post will be at 1:00 p.m for an eight-race card on opening day.
The 40-day meet will host racing Wednesdays through Sundays ending Nov. 24th.
GP West History
This is the sixth straight year for the GP West meet. Since its start in 2014, the meet has been held at the Calder Race Course track and stables. The contract for the GP West meet extends through the 2020 racing season.
Gulfstream in Hallandale Beach is owned by the Stronach Group, while Calder is owned by publicly-traded Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI). CDI signed the lease after they raced head-to-head on weekends for 12 months from mid 2013 to mid 2014 during a dispute over racing dates.
|Calder Race Track, 2015|
Gulfstream’s average daily handle proved to be about three times larger than Calder’s handle.
Calder and CDI accepted the lease deal, to serve both the Miami & Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood markets.
One issue was the Florida law that requires a pari-mutuel to have at least 40 performances per year to keep their casino license. The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering determine that the lease enabled Calder to meet that casino requirement.
This year Calder opened a jai-alai fronton.
But Calder, under terms of its Gulfstaesm lease, is still putting 10-percent of net slot machine revenues into race purses at Gulfstream-sponsored meets.
CDI has indicated that it does not plan to extend the Gulfstream lease beyond 2020 and that it does not desire thoroughbred racing at Calder after 2020.
The Stronach Group owns Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach, Fla. Palm Meadows is approximately 50 miles North of Gulfstream.