Florida racetrack agrees 2017 purse contract
The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association has reportedly signed a deal with horseracing track operator Stronach Group regarding next year’s purse contract at Gulfstream Park Racing And Casino.
According to a report from Blood-Horse magazine, the pair reached an agreement on December 21 ahead of a year-end deadline but declined to specify the daily average reward or minimum purses the Hallandale Beach-based facility will be required to pay out during its four race meets in 2017.
“It’s a great contract for everyone; the horsemen, the track and for Florida racing,” said Bill White, President for the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association. “We are very excited.”
Stronach Group recently inked a consulting deal with Genting Malaysia Berhad that will see the Malaysian firm operate the casino at Gulfstream Park Racing And Casino while its most recent agreement reportedly calls for the elimination of a lingering overpayment in the purse account for non-championship meets.
Blood-Horse reported that such overpayments occur when money paid out to horsemen in purses exceeds the percentage of betting revenues allocated to the reward account. The new deal concerns such compensation that was rewarded between July of 2013 and June of 2014 when Gulfstream Park Racing And Casino operated head-to-head against near-neighbor Calder Casino And Race Course. Stronach Group assumed control of the racing operations at the Miami Gardens-based competitor in July of 2014 and the latest accord calls for the purse deficit to be reduced to zero by the end of the year and institutes a cap on any future overpayments.
“The horsemen will be able to start the 2017 non-championship meet with a balanced purse account, which should result in more predictable race cards and purses,” said Glen Berman, Executive Director for the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association. “This will better reflect the current handle at the track, which has been setting records for the last couple of years. The constant overpayment status of the purse account has left current horsemen paying the bills of past years’ meets.”
Blood-Horse additionally reported that the new deal will create the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association Stakes Series, which is to be a string of $100,000 stakes races to be run during the 2017 non-championship meet.
“This innovative approach by the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association and Gulfstream Park [Racing And Casino] will reward south Florida owners and trainers who run year-round with more opportunities to race their top horses,” read a statement from the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association.
Finally, Blood-Horse reported that the deal calls for all three stables operated by Stronach Group in south Florida to be open throughout the year. These properties encompass Gulfstream Park Racing And Casino, Calder Casino And Gulfstream Park West Race Course, which is the new name for Calder Casino And Race Course, and the Palm Meadows training facility in Boynton Beach.
“This will provide great peace-of-mind and much needed flexibility for the smaller stables,” said White. “It adds a layer of certainty as before there was no contractual agreement for all three stabling areas to remain open year-round.”