In the latest shot fired in the Florida Horse Racing “turf war”, Gulfstream Park announced last Saturday that it will reopen its Palm Meadows training facility to accommodate horses and horsemen who may be impacted by the “restricted access policy” that went into effect at Calder Race Course on July 1.
Calder said last Friday that, effective July 1, the track will prohibit horses stabled at Calder from re-entering its grounds if trainers send them to race at other Florida tracks. (Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs)
The decision announcements by both Gulfstream and Calder comes as the two tracks, which are just eight miles apart, are both scheduled to have racing every Saturday and Sunday from July 6-7 through the end of June 2014.
Gulfstream’s announcement said there will be no charge for stall rent at Palm Meadows, which has a nine furlong main track, a turf course, and over 1,300 stalls.
It also announced that horsemen who run a horse from July 1 to July 7 at Gulfstream will receive a $1,000 starter fee.
“The policy of The Stronach Group (who owns GulfstreamPark and a plethora of other tracks around the country) our chairman Frank Stronach has always been to allow horsemen open access,” said Gulfstream president Tim Ritvo. “If horsemen want to run with us, they will have a home.”
In last Friday’s statement, Calder said the decision to ban the return of shippers “comes as a direct result of Gulfstream Park’s decision to disregard an agreement between the two tracks designed to prevent future race-date disputes and a head-to-head clash.”
Calder did add it might make limited exceptions to its “restricted access policy” on a case-by-case basis for certain conditions with permission from its racing secretary Mike Anifantis.
“There is now a greater expectation for horses stabling and training on Calder’s property, at Calder’s expense, to race at Calder,” said John Marshall, Calder’s vice president and general manager of racing.
Gulfstream retorted that horses stabled there that race at Calder will be allowed to return to Gulfstream.
So, let me get this straight….if you are stabled at Gulfstream or Tampa Bay Downs you can run your horse at any of the three major Florida tracks and return to the original track where your based out of, but if you are stabled at Calder, you can run at the other two tracks (Gulfstream and Calder) but you cant go back to Calder? ….ok, I think I got it….but just in case, who is on first?
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