By Kathy Davey
Meeting led by P.J. Campo.
- As we all know, a deal has been struck between Gulfstream Park and Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) on behalf of Calder. FHBPA president Phil Combest joined PJ in coordinating the discussion about what we know so far, and what we don’t. Many issues are yet to be finalized, like the Stakes Schedule moving forward; whether or not the Summit of Speed will take place this year or not (due to the short notice for putting on a quality event); etc. The Florida Sire Stakes races (formerly Stallion Stakes) will all be run at Gulfstream. Calder will run for eight weeks from October 8 through November five racing days per week.
- GP is working diligently to iron out all the details and unanswered questions. Purses will rise July 1 and probably not before.
- Tim Ritvo met with horsemen at Calder on Tuesday May 27 to summarize the deal beginning July 1 between Calder and Gulfstream. He assured horsemen that nearly 500 stalls are available in the new agreement. We are continuing to work with CDI to have access to significantly more stalls through the transition period so there is as little disruption as possible to Calder-based horsemen. Clif Hopmans (GP) and Richard Root (CRC) are working together on this aspect of the transition. Gulfstream will maintain the barn area. There are plans to renovate the barns that have been made available before any horses are moved into them.
Point of Information: Currently Gulfstream stables 1350 horses, using all available stall space, and there is a waiting list. There will be nearly 500 stalls available at Calder (and hopefully more). Palm Meadows will also be open year-round. •
A significant portion of the outside portion of the race track was closed off and dried out recently in order to remove rocks that had started to surface. This project has been completed; many rocks were removed. Additional material will be added. There was a question about the overall condition of the race track. PJ has received a new set of data and will discuss this information at the next meeting. He will also discuss horsemen’s concerns with the track man.
- There was discussion about “summer hours” for morning training. Since there is not a possibility to reduce to only one break rather than the current “two,” many horsemen would like the track to open earlier – possibly opening at 5:00 am with a break at 6:30, a break at 8:00 am, and closing at 9:30 am. People should give suggestions to the backside committee and a change will be considered. •
Many horsemen are concerned about bedding costs. Pellets are being used frequently at some northern tracks with good results and at lower cost. This will be looked into further. Discussions continue with folks in Ocala about a possible co-op.