Florida Horse Racing Prepares To Say Goodbye To Calder

“It”s the end of an era,”said Bill Badgett, the executive director of Florida Racing Operations for The Stronach Group.

Saturday’s opening day at the meet rebranded as Gulfstream Park West will truly mark the beginning of an end. Barring an 11th hour reprieve from the courts, the 40-day season will be the last ever run at Calder Race Course, the meat-and-potatoes South Florida track that has been operating since 1971.

Since 2014, the racing operation has been leased by Calder’s owner, Churchill Downs Inc., to Gulfstream Park’s owners, The Stronach Group, which renamed the track Gulfstream Park West. That lease expires at the end of the year and TSG is in the process of putting together a 2021 racing schedule that does not include a Gulfstream Park West/Calder meet.

Calder opened May 6, 1971 with 16,263 fans in attendance and the handle was $712,931. The New York Times reported that the meet “got off to a flying start” and that there were so many people looking to get into the track that they had to close the gates and turn some would-be patrons away…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 17-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the 2018 NHC Tour with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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