A Gulfstream-Calder Deal in the Works?

by | 05.28.2013 | 4:08pm

Rumors have been floating around for weeks that the Stronach Group, owner of Gulfstream Park racetrack and casino, may be purchasing rival Calder, the racetrack and casino owned by Churchill Downs Inc.

That is not true (with a capital NOT), says former Post-Time USA owner Gene Stevens, the man I like to call the Henry Kissinger of South Florida for his shuttle diplomacy efforts between the two warring parties.

Stevens, who said he “closed down his immensely successful magazine to help save the racing industry,” said meetings have been ongoing between representatives of both Stronach Group and CDI. Further, Stevens said, the two sides are “putting final touches” on an agreement that will prevent them from running head to head against each other, which he said is “unthinkable and suicidal.”

One of the possible solutions to come out of the meeting, he added, is for Gulfstream Park to buy or lease Calder's racing license and take advantage of the Calder racing surface and stabling area rather than trying to stable and run year-round at Gulfstream. He said the proposal was first floated by him in an article in TrackTimesToday.net. He wrote the article as a “concerned owner, and not as a board member of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association,” he said.

This deal would allow CDI to continue to operate its casino and give the Stronach Group a monopoly on Thoroughbred dates in South Florida.

Stevens, whose Post-Time USA was known for its emphasis on promoting the social aspects of racing (and for running countless photos of “Geno” with racing personalities), earlier this year brought Stronach Group owner Frank Stronach and Calder executive John Marshall together for a photo opportunity during the Eclipse Awards. Naturally, Stevens was in the picture, too.

The caption for that photo, Stevens said, was: “As a step in the right direction.”

  • Nucky Thompson

    Oh Oh Geno, the rest of us call him the Henry Kissmya$$ of South Florida.

  • Richard C

    Monopoly is never a good thing — but CDI will more than likely flee from Florida the way Stronach staggered out of Ohio…..with cash in pocket and lousy looking crocodile tears.

  • Nucky Thompson

    If they make a movie of this fiasco , I nominate Michael Douglas to play the part of Geno .

    • Tinky

      Disagree; Joe Pesci with a wig and a purple Caddy.

  • Cheryl

    The barns are still up at Tropical Park on Bird Road in Miami.

  • Hoops and Horses

    If they can avoid going head-to-head, it would be the best thing for South Florida. If Calder does close and Gulfstream did take over some of the dates, it might also be best if racing at Gulfstream took a break after the winter meeting ended in early April and starting up again in late June. A separate deal could be worked out with Tampa Bay Downs where Tampa Bay extends their meet into early June, getting the period after early April all to themselves with no racing in South Florida (which would give horsemen who would need to race in April, May and early June somewhere to race without heading north of Florida) as Tampa in that scenario would get horses to replace those heading north in April.

    A similar scenario could happen in the fall after Gulfstream races a late June to mid-October summer season (ending with the “Festival of the Sun” events that have traditionally been at Calder). Tampa could then reopen early and get about five weeks of racing (mid-October to mid-late November all to themselves before Gulfstream reopens on Thanksgiving day (which used to be the traditional start of the Florida racing season with the opening of the old Tropical Park prior to 1970) for the start of the winter racing season. Tampa would then take a brief break after the five-week meet before their regular season starts in mid-December.

    This could be the new normal for Florida racing, however, NONE of the above includes the possibility of Hialeah reopening for Thoroughbred racing in the future.

    • just sayin

      There is no advantage for Tampa Bay Dump to run past the first Saturday in May. The backside is a ghost town after the first week of April. Why stay in Tampa when the racinos are gearing up for their spring meets and the horsemen could run for so much more money. Yea, I could see Frank Stronach and Stella Thayer negotiating a deal…………NOT!

      • That was an example of what could be done. The point is, it would be best if Calder did close for Gulfstream to take some time off at designated points.

        The idea of a semi-circuit outside of winter with Gulfstream and Tampa would be more to accommodate horsemen who can’t ship to the northern tracks in the summer, but can go north to Tampa. Necessity can make strange bedfellows sometimes.

        • Nucky Thompson

          Rumor mill is saying today that Gulfstream will race 9 months a year and Calder just 3.

  • tom

    Do you mean the successful mag./pic. rag he gave away ?

  • allen

    That makes no sense. I can see Calder running their dates at Gulfstream, not the onther way around. Stronach wants to bring crowds to the village all year.

  • Bnlong

    No matter what success you may achieve in the horse business, be it winning a classic or an eclipse award to selling a sales topper. You have not truly arrived until you get your picture taken with Geno. Only then have you truly arrived & made it in this business !

  • Anton Chigurh

    Trump will play Geno in the biopic and vice versa. The hairdo will star in both.

  • Bigred51

    Gene Stevens has produced more horsesh_t than the combined backsides of Gulfstream & Calder! I like to call him the “Osama Bin Laden” of South Florida. The only thing bigger than Geno’s ego is Tom Durkin! Once you get your picture taken with Stevens, you should admit to yourself that you’ve hit bottom and get some rehab. As for the movie, Jerry Lewis or “The Joker” from the Batman movie should play his part.

  • Nucky Thompson

    Correction to the last paragraph. If Geno was in the middle of the photo the caption should have read ” A prick between two thorns”

  • Nucky Thompson

    Forget about Geno, oh Geno, rumor has it that Calder are speaking with Hialeah. How’s that for something out of left field !

  • pallyhubris

    The mere mention of d-bag stevens casts questions on the reporter’s reliability.

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