First Maryland, Now Florida ~ MI Developments creates new chaos

Just two weeks after Frank Stronach working out a deal in which he would relinquish control of his real estate company in exchange for some of its racetrack assets.

This after Maryland Horsemen/Women stood unified and up to both Stronach and the State and said NO to both of their deals.

href=”http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/60429/report-stronach-to-give-up-mid-real-estate#ixzz18ptc80VA”>

Stronach, who holds a controlling voting stake in the company, MI Developments, is prepared to exchange his control of the $800 million real estate development company for some of its horse racing track assets, Reuters reported

MID is now creating havoc for Florida Racing. In two articles from BloodHorse tells the tale.

Bloodbath Looming on Florida Racing Dates?

Bloodbath Looming on Florida Racing Dates?”
src=”http://www.bloodhorse.com/images/content/CalderStartingGateJL298.jpg” alt=”Bloodbath Looming on Florida Racing Dates?” />

For the past 20 years, Calder has been the only Miami-area track to race in December.
Photo: Jim Lisa Photos

By Jim Freer
Updated: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 8:38 PM
Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 8:41 AM

The biggest issue at Calder Casino & Race Course Jan. 4, closing day of its 2010-11 meet, was a fast-brewing and potentially bitter dispute with Gulfstream Park over southeast Florida’s attractive December racing dates.

In an e-mail the afternoon of Jan. 4, Mike Rogers, a top official of Gulfstream’s parent MI Developments, told The Blood-Horse: “I would like to reserve comment until after we meet with Calder. We are planning to meet with Calder in the next couple of days.”

Rogers is MID’s vice president for racing and gaming and its point man and spokesman on the racing dates issue.

Later Jan. 4, John Marshall, Calder’s vice president and general manager for racing, said Calder and parent Churchill Downs Inc. have not been contacted by Gulfstream or MID.

The widely-anticipated dispute over dates became a reality Dec. 31 when Gulfstream told Florida racing regulators it plans to hold racing almost the entire month of December 2011, beginning Dec. 2. For the past 20 years, Calder has been the only Miami-area track to race in December.

In its preliminary 2011-12 filing with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, Calder listed the entire month of 2011 in its planned schedule. Marshall said Calder will not relinquish the December dates to Gulfstream, and is prepared to run head-to-head against its neighboring track.

“They talk about a free marketplace and open competition,” Marshall said. “They will have it.”
 
The tracks are located about eight miles apart. Since 2002, Florida Thoroughbred tracks have selected their racing dates; previously, the dates were allocated by state regulators.

The tracks have until Feb. 28 to send the Florida DPMW their final filings for the 12 months between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. Gulfstream’s preliminary filing is for Dec. 2, 2011, through April 8, 2012. Calder’s preliminary filing is for April 25, 2011, through Jan. 4, 2012.

“(Gulfstream’s filing for December dates) is just the first salvo,” said Sam Gordon, president of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.  “We hope the two tracks will sit down and resolve this. Nobody wants them to race head-to-head.”

Gordon said the Florida HPBA is not taking sides in the dispute.

The prospect of Calder and Gulfstream running head-to-head for a month is a dilemma for South Florida horsemen, as well as for the numerous mutuel clerks and other employees who work at both tracks. Calder’s stable area is open-year round, and Gulfstream’s stables are open from early December through late April.

During a head-to-head month, trainers who van horses from one track to race at the other would naturally be concerned about reductions in their numbers of stalls.

There is another wild card: Hialeah Park could ask to run some Thoroughbred races during its Quarter Horse meet, which traditionally begins in early December. End

Gulfstream Willing to Negotiate Over Dates

Updated: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 6:35 PM
Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 5:38 PM

Gulfstream Park would be willing to consider a partial change in southeast Florida’s racing calendar, a top official of Gulfstream’s parent MI Developments said Jan. 5, opening day of the track’s 2011.
Mike Rogers, MID’s vice president for racing and gaming, said earlier in the day he left a “We’d like to talk” phone message with Bill Carstanjen, chief operating officer of Calder Casino & Race Course parent company Churchill Downs Inc.

“We’d like to talk about how we feel that maybe a change might be good for all concerned,” said Rogers, MID’s designated spokesman on the dates issue.

A Calder official said Jan. 5 the track would have no comment.

For 20 years, Calder has been the only Thoroughbred track to race in December in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market.

But in a preliminary filing on Dec. 31, Gulfstream told Florida racing regulators it plans to race from Dec. 2, 2011, to April 8, 2012.  Calder’s filing with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, listed April 25, 2011, through Jan. 4, 2012.

“By December, our trainers and their horses from northern states are down here,” Rogers said.

He noted that Gulfstream’s purses during its early weeks are higher than Calder’s purses during December.

When asked if Gulfstream and MID would consider a “swap” of some of its traditional April dates for some of Calder’s traditional December dates, Rogers said: “We would like to sit down and talk, and would consider that and other things that might be good for all concerned.”

Calder plans to run its traditional December dates in 2011, regardless of Gulfstream’s plans, John Marshall, Calder vice president and general manager of racing, said Jan. 4. End

~

So for 20 years, Calder has been the only Thoroughbred track to race in December in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market. So why do this now? Seems Maryland’s Horsemen/Women were right when they stated  “We thought it was time to say enough is enough. Since (MID, formerly Magna Entertainment Corp.) took over it has been one disaster after another. We need to put a stop to this.”

AND THEY DID. Then Stronach announced he was relinquishing control of MID.

But has he?

So now MID is making trouble in Florida. What is their problem?

If I was Calder I’d be fuming as well.

~

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