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In its short history, the Summit of Speed attracted some of the country's top sprinters, including Cajun Beat and Orientate who both went on to win Breeders' Cup Sprint championship races Orientate , Cajun Beat In , Lost in the Fog won at Calder, although was later defeated in the Breeders' Cup.
The Summit of Speed turned out to be the single biggest day in the history of Calder. It was previously in the Lake Lucerne census-designated place.
On June 4, , jockey Eddie Castro set the North American record for the most wins in a day at one track, winning 9 races at Calder.
The horse was later named The Green Monkey. The grand opening of the Calder Casino was celebrated in January On August 24, , jockey Antonio A.
Gallardo set the record for the most stakes wins in a day and in a row, winning 4 consecutive stake races in the Juvenile Showcase.
After head-to-head racing between Calder and nearby Gulfstream Park in and , CDI and the Stronach Group announced an agreement where the Stronach Group would manage Calder's racing operations, and CDI would operate the Calder Casino.
In April , CDI demolished approximately 1, stalls in an area marked for non-racing commercial re-development. In July , Gulfstream Park was informed that the Calder grandstand — owned by CDI — will not be open to the public for the Gulfstream Park West meet except for racing officials, and that the seven-story structure will be demolished once the meet has concluded.
The length of the main track is one-mile 1. Surface is inch sand and marl clay base with 4. The surface is Tifton Bermuda grass.
The stable area has stalls for thoroughbreds plus receiving barn, feed rooms, tack rooms, detention barns, and living quarters. Gulfstream Park West's jockey colony is reflective of the diversity of Miami.
With the Gulfstream West oval serving as a launching pad for jockeys coming from Latin America and the Caribbean, many jockeys have gained valuable riding experience before success at other racetracks across the country.
In order to maintain its gaming license, Churchill had to offer parimutuel gambling, with the most prominent form being, of course, horseracing.
But, it turns out, jai alai would do, and Churchill went about building a fronton a jai alai arena in the hope of supplanting horseracing.
And so here we are. While true that Gulfstream will absorb some of the Calder dates, not all will be made up.
In the big picture, another racetrack has been shuttered. Florida will be left with but two Thoroughbred tracks, Gulfstream and Tampa Bay Downs.
Truth is, Churchill is not alone: There are many track owners across this land who would be more than happy to rid themselves of costly, dirty, and, increasingly, embarrassing negative coverage, dead horses horseracing.
Recently, though, that has begun to change see Governor Wolf in Pennsylvania. Would that that trend continues and this corporate welfare propping up a cruel, declining industry gets redirected where it belongs — education, infrastructure, property-tax relief, etc.
For now, we savor another victory. A great model for how to shut it down. It appears appealing to viewers to boycott racing on compassionate grounds alone is not enough.
Calder racecourse was laid to rest at the weekend, having opened its gates on May 6, with 16, fans in attendance. The beginning of the end came in , when Churchill Downs Inc tore down the grandstand, leaving pretty much only the track, while the final nail in the coffin was the imminent ending of the lease from CDI to the Stronach Group, with the owners wanting to switch from racing to jai alai.
Changing the Calder pari-mutuel licence from racing to jai alai enables CDI to operate the lucrative slot machines at the casino. A Florida appellate court in September of agreed with CDI that jai alai satisfies the pari-mutuel requirements for its casino gaming, and is of course a considerably cheaper option than racing.
Similar to Folkestone, which was sadly closed by Arena Racing Company in , Calder had its moment in the annals of racing history, in terms of famous two- and four-legged participants, with Princess Rooney, Spend A Buck and Cherokee Run among its Hall of Fame horses, while, fittingly, Hall of Fame trainer Eddie Plesa Jr was the man to saddle the track's final winner, Diligent.
Around horses are currently stabled at Calder, and they can remain until April 1, when it is expected an expansion project will have been completed at Palm Meadows to house the horses and backstretch workers.
Florida law required Churchill to run a live racing meet of at least 40 days in order to keep its casino license, but Churchill found a loophole in the law and argued that any form of pari-mutuel wagering would satisfy the requirements for a casino.
In May, , Churchill opened a jai alai fronton, which is far less costly to operate than a racetrack, on the grounds. Horse racing was no longer needed.
The Florida HBPA and other industry groups have continued the battle in the courts, hoping to reverse the decision that approved the casino-jai alai marriage.
But Gulfstream management is proceeding as if racing will no longer continue at Calder after the meet ends Nov.
Though overshadowed by Gulfstream, the abbreviated Calder meets served a purpose. It is difficult for any track to operate year-round, especially one that relies so heavily on turf racing, like Gulfstream does.
The two months when racing was conducted at Calder were used to give Gulfstream a break and to prepare the turf course for the Championship Meet.
Calder deserved better, both when it was operating and now that it is gone. Sure, the horses that remain there can be boarded through April.
I guess that amounts to some kindness. Now, it joins the likes of Suffolk Downs and Hollywood Park, husks that can only be partially recognized on Google Earth.
Archeologists one day may use heat signatures and new-fangled x-rays to see it, like they do with the footprints of Roman cities. Nothing could be done with the place?
What about a turf racing center for boutique meets? What about… Silence. It is over. Tragic irony and fitting that the last Thoroughbred to win at Calder was named Diligent.
That is what was lacking over the years - a diligent caretaker.