Gulfstream, Calder join forces in South Florida racing deal

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Linking two major South Florida racetracks, the operators of Gulfstream Park will soon start running races at Calder Race Course.

The deal, announced Wednesday, is between The Stronach Group, which oversees Gulfstream in Hallandale Beach, and Churchill Downs-managed Calder in Miami Gardens.

In a news release, Churchill Downs said that the agreement includes leasing Calder’s racetrack to The Stronach Group, which will provide races under Calder’s permits. Stronach will continue to run the required minimum number of race days at Calder under Florida law, with races during other times of the year at Gulfstream.

Churchill Downs will continue to be the owner/operator of the Calder Casino.

The agreement, subject to regulatory approval, will continue through 2020 and includes such issues as deals to provide simulcast wagering, as well as Churchill Downs’ interest in HRTV, a horseracing channel.

Churchill Downs President and COO William Carstanjen said the deal is good for all parties in the South Florida thoroughbred racing industry.

“Without this arrangement, there is no other apparent, viable long-term solution to preserving racing in South Florida on a year-round basis,” he said in a statement posted on the Churchill Downs website.

“In addition, CDI (Churchill Downs) and TSG (The Stronach Group) addressed the future of their HRTV partnership and other outstanding topics of discussion between the companies,” Carstanjen added. “All of which sets the stage for a mutually productive working relationship going forward.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.