Let the record show that the mandatory Rainbow 6 payout was $6,234, that Edgard Zayas won the riding title, and Rohan Crichton a training title as the curtain came down for good on Calder Race Course.
My earliest memory of citified Miami Springs venue came 43 years ago when my oldest daughter was in a stroller and I got my first glimpse of the world famous Kenny Noe Speed Bumps on the Calder backstretch.
But it wasn’t a great experience because there were laws against bringing children to the racetrack back in the day. My wife and daughter were turned away before I could even open my Racing Form.
My last remembrance wasn’t much better. The announcer was calling races from the crow’s nest of an automated lift, the grandstand had been imploded and only a handful of self-automated betting machines existed where a building once stood. There were about 100 fans in attendance.
I didn’t stay long; it was too depressing.
Calder was my first experience dealing with a synthetic surface, the “Tartan Track” developed by 3M company. If memory serves, its color was as black as night and horses either loved or hated it.
It had a reputation for safety back then but I don’t know that for a fact. Some who should know say management often played fast and loose with training injuries and in recent years didn’t have enough personnel in place and reporting protocols were sketchy.
But when Calder horses stayed healthy, they were plenty fit when they left the grounds.
Whatever the track composition, Calder was always a Horse for Course surface. It had a loyal following that extended outside the Sunshine State, even before the game became all simulcasting all the time. The plant was large, comfortable and concession stands provided some bang for the buck.
This was the second track put down by Churchill Downs Inc. and follows by eight years the Christmas week shuttering of Hollywood Park. And so another racetrack joins the Bowies and New England tracks of my youth. Who’s next?
JUDGE RULING FOR RACETRACKS SHOWS PROMISE
A Kentucky Circuit Court Judge has granted a summary judgment in favor of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission which will permit Churchill Downs and Keeneland to institute house rules regarding raceday Lasix for two-year-olds of 2020.
As a result, and of greater significance, the 2021 Kentucky Derby will run Lasix-free with a variation on that same theme in recognized Kentucky Derby qualifying prep races.
Those racing with Lasix in Kentucky Derby preps will not earn qualifying points. Points will be awarded only to horses racing Lasix free in those events.
In confirming the authority of the KHRC to oversee racing and house rules at Kentucky’s signature tracks, the barring raceday Lasix for two-year-olds represented a defeat for the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.
The HBPA group argued that the language regarding this issue was vague and inappropriate and did not give tracks the authority to institute “house rules” regarding a medication which studies have shown to be performance enhancing.
When issuing his decision, the judge made it clear that the ruling was not based on scientific evidence or on humanitarian grounds–either for or against–but on the legal ramifications of statutory authority that fall under the purview of the racing associations.
The guess is we have not heard the last word on this. But the good news for the horses is their handlers will need to find better ways to deal with Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage rather than simply resorting to a needle by default.
GULFSTREAM PARK OPENS FANLESS
Fairly recently we can recall reading a press release stating that when Gulfstream Park opened its Championship Meet, which begins tomorrow, it will do so a 50% fan capacity. In the interim that number was reduced to zero.
Clearly, The Stronach Group is acting out of an abundance of caution and doubtlessly is hoping for a small miracle in advance of their first major event, The Pegasus World Cup Invitational on JAN 23.
Otherwise, where will they find $3 million to put on that event, another million for the Pegasus World Cup Turf, and $9 million more to complete their ambitious stakes calendar?
In retrospect, too bad TSG didn’t set up shop in Tallahassee, where state government is in complete disarray, its chief executive in the conversation for Worst Governor of the Covid Era.
Ron DeSantis is HorseRaceInsider’s 3-1 early spreader favorite to win the title because everywhere you look in SoFla businesses and schools are open. Ft. Lauderdale bars are doing brisk business; Tampa Bay Downs is open to the public, but with strict on-track protocols.
The press does not have access to the barn area, the Palm Meadows training center, or the track apron despite the absence of fans. The media can access the press suite with outdoor seating, accessible only from the south entrance where temps are taken before access is granted.
We’re guessing at an over-under for fans by JAN 20. Any takers?