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.”
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