First let me say that I refuse to correct any misspellings in Mr. Dickmans article! I misspell many words but spellcheck does make me look smarter! LOL
“I’ll take his incorrect asumptions one at a time, but before I do, let it be known that I am not commenting on who deserves to run when and where. I’m just pointing out the facts about who can run and who can’t, and why.”
“He says that Calder acts like they own these dates – well, when the state awards the dates as applied for – Calder does own them. Mr. Glass says “just because they ‘want to run in December’ doesn’t mean they have earned the right to run in December.” Well, of course, they have, they have been running them forever, and Gulfstream (or Hialeah) never made a peep.”
You are incorrect Mr. Dickman. Because they have been running them “forever” means that nothing can change? So the horsemen and the state must suffer because Calder has been running them forever? The state hasn’t awarded dates in years. The dates were an agreement and that agreement is expiring. Its not like Gulfstream Park and Calder have a twenty year agreement in writing and now Gulfstream Park has decided to break that agreement. Nope, the filing for dates is upon us and Gulfstream Park, has decided to run more days. Why is that so difficult to understand? I don’t think it matters one bit how many years I have been in Florida. An accountant from out of state who has never been in Florida only has to look at the books to determine that Calder is killing racing here in December. I am also not interested in Calder’s history going back 40 or so years. What I am interested in as an owner is making money , and the bottom line is, Calder, in todays world, doesn’t cut it.
Just answer the one question that you have ignored. How do you justify to the horsemen and the state that Calder should run in December with the poor numbers they have posted the last two years? Until you can answer that question satisfactorily there really is no reason why Calder should stand in the way of progress. The horsemen and the State should come first, not Calder and it’s running forever bullsh*t.
To Mr. Glass: Gulfstream Went On The Offensive, Not Calder
(January 25, 2011) – This email came in a couple of weeks ago from Sheldon Glass, who lists a Broward area code on his phone number. I’ll reprint it first and comment on it later.
“Calder Casino & Race Course has gone on the offensive in southeast Florida’s battle over racing dates by telling state regulators it intends to start racing year-round. Calder doesn’t deserve to race year round, let alone the prime dates from Thanksgiving Day till April. These dates should go to Gulfstream Park. Calder behaves like they own these dates and did nothing this year but cut purses during the Tropical meet. Why should the horsemen, fans and the state be held hostage to Calder and CDI? They don’t deserve these dates and the last three years have done nothing but sit on their hands and cost everyone money. Gulfstream Park just ended its first week of racing. Take a look at their number and compare it to Calder’s. Case closed. It’s about time Gulfstream Park became aggressive. For twenty years Calder has been the only track in South Florida running in December. The last five years all the numbers have declined. So, just because they “want to run in December” doesn’t mean they have earned the right to run in December. The state of Florida, the horsemen and its fans deserve better.”
I have no idea how long Mr. Glass has been in South Florida, and for how long he has been a racing fan. But he ought to realize that before one makes statements such as those above, one should have all the facts tied up in a neat bundle. Mr. Glass has about 10 percent of them correct.
I’ll take his incorrect asumptions one at a time, but before I do, let it be known that I am not commenting on who deserves to run when and where. I’m just pointing out the facts about who can run and who can’t, and why.
The first absurd assumption made by Mr. Glass is that Calder has gone on the offensive by “telling” state regulators it intends to start racing year round. I’m sure it is obvious to everybody who reads that tidbit that Mr. Glass either (a) missed the part where Gulfstream previously announced it was going to run in December starting this year, or (2) he’s one of those who is merely going to overlook that piece of information and place the blame on Calder. Mr. Glass, Gulfstream initiated your “battle over racing dates” by its announcement, which preceded Calder’s. You can bet Calder had no intention of amending its dates for 2011-2012 until Gulfstream jumped in head first.
Next, let’s get the sequence of racing dates in South Florida straightened out once and for all so fans like Mr. Glass and the media don’t keep making the same mistakes. Before 1970, Tropical Park ran the early dates, through Thanksgiving Day until the first few days of January. Hialeah Park picked up after Tropical closed and ran what was known as the “middle dates” until mid-March, whereupon Gulfstream Park took over into sometime in April. There was no summer racing.
That all began to change when Steve Calder and William L. McKnight received a permit from the state to run a summer meeting at what would become Calder Race Course. While the new track was being built, Calder and McKnight held the first summer meeting at Tropical Park in 1970. In those days, the state had “regulation,” meaning each track submitted its dates application and it was approved by the state and the dates allocated. It was accomplished by the tracks sitting down together and coming to an agreement.
Gulfstream’s James Donn Sr. and Jr. always felt their track was being shortchanged because the middle dates period was easily the most lucrative. It was a time when the influx of northerners packed the grandstand from January to March. The Donns wanted the middle dates period rotated from season to season. The state’s take on it was that the track that brought in the most revenue should have the middle dates and the Donns tried, without success for a time, telling the state that it was impossible for Gulfstream to outhandle Hialeah while running the end dates. In 1971, Gulfstream took its case to the Florida Supreme Court, and the justices agreed with the Donns. In 1972, Gulfstream and Hialeah began a rotation of the middle dates.Tropical Park, meanwhile, was closed by Steve Calder and William McKnight after the 1971-’72 winter period, and the dates were moved to Calder. Thus was born the Tropical-at-Calder meeting.
In November of 1989, Hialeah owner John Brunetti tried to run opposite the Tropical meeting and took a bath in just a few weeks, closing down quickly. Calder president Kenny Noe Jr. had told the Calder horsemen that if they left their barns to run a horse at Hialeah, not to come back. It worked.
Just after the turn of the century, the state decided it was time to “de-regulate” the dates, and did so, allowing each track to decide when it wanted to run, and awarded the dates as applied for. Gulfstream and Calder decided to squeeze out Hialeah, and Brunetti shuttered the Flamingo track after the 2002 season, which, after two years, led to the state revoking his thoroughbred permit.
Calder and Gulfstream have agreed to the dates split ever since, UNTIL GULFSTREAM MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT A FEW WEEKS AGO IT HAD APPLIED FOR THE DECEMBER DATES THAT TROPICAL-AT-CALDER HAS RUN SINCE 1972, AND THAT TROPICAL PARK RAN FOR DECADES BEFORE THAT.
So, for Mr. Glass to flat out state that this new battle has been caused by Calder is a complete and utter falsehood. He says that Calder acts like they own these dates – well, when the state awards the dates as applied for – Calder does own them. Mr. Glass says “just because they ‘want to run in December’ doesn’t mean they have earned the right to run in December.” Well, of course, they have, they have been running them forever, and Gulfstream (or Hialeah) never made a peep. Now, Frank Stronach wants to take the December dates. That’s his right. But he should have asked Calder/Churchill to sit down and discuss the issue before making a new application to the state and surprising everybody, including CDI.
I have only met Calder president John Marshall once, for a brief hello, on the occasion of the opening of the Calder Poker Room, so I can’t begin to guess what he’ll do next. Well, I’ll try to guess. He just might pull a Kenny Noe and tell the Calder horsemen not to come back if they decide to run at Gulfstream against the Calder meeting. And the long-time Calder horsemen
live in South Florida, so only a precious few might be willing to take their horses north while the Calder meeting is up and running. That would be financial suicide.
So, Mr. Glass, I say to you and anybody else that you need to get your facts straight before you lambast Calder for what Frank Stronach initiated. The moguls at Gulfstream appear to be miffed because Churchill Downs officials won’t come to the table. They should have thought about the consequences of their announcement last month.