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Gulfstream Park Opens in December for the First Time

February 17, 2012
So how did that December date swap between Calder and Gulfstream Park work out for horsemen?  If you recall, essentially to avert a dates war last year, Calder gave up most of December to Gulfstream Park and in return Calder received most of April from Gulfstream.  This period of new dates for Gulfstream began on Saturday, December 3rd and continued to January 4th as Gulfstream opened on January 5th last year.  There were 19 common days that were left to compare when Mondays were matched to corresponding Mondays and Thursdays matched to Thursdays, etc.  All extra days that could not be matched to a corresponding day were dropped from this exercise.
Live on track handle more than doubled being up more than 270% over what was handled at Calder in 2010/2011.  The intrastate or ITW handle within the State of Florida on the Gulfstream live product doubled last year’s Calder handle with an increase of just over 200%.  The interstate or ISW handle on Gulfstream’s live races was more than triple Calder’s numbers from last year.
While live handle numbers were off the charts at Gulfstream, the same could not be said for handle on the simulcasts from other tracks.  The wagering on track on simulcasts at Gulfstream was about the same as it was at Calder in 2010/2011.  However, the handle on simulcasts purchased from Gulfstream Park by the ITW network was well down from Calder’s numbers.  Since Tampa Bay Downs opened the same day as Gulfstream this year, the ITW network tracks could purchase out-of-state signals from either track.  Last year Tampa didn’t open until mid-December so these simulcast signals could only be purchased through Calder until Tampa’s opening, as Calder was the only operating track.
The number that horsemen care about most is the level of overnight purses and stakes monies paid out during this 19 day period.  The stakes paid out at Gulfstream were about $90,000 more than had been paid at Calder, and the overnights paid out at Gulfstream were about 190% higher, $295,000 to $154,000.