Some horsemen are taking a wait-and-see approach, hoping the two tracks can work out an agreement that would allow both to co-exist in harmony.
White, for example, hasnt moved his horses out of Calder. But White said if his horses owners want him to race at Gulfstream because of the higher purses, hell have little choice.
If enough of my owners tell me that this is the direction they want to go, Ive got a choice, White said. Either do that [move to Gulfstream] or give up my horses and go stand in a soup line.
Many horsemen say it could turn out that the two tracks work out a compromise in which Calder concedes all but 40 of its race dates the minimum number, by law, that it must conduct live racing in order to also keep its casino license.
It really seems like the two tracks are getting ready to reverse positions, where Calder is going to run a shorter race meet and Gulfstream is going to run more days, White said. I wouldnt be surprised, in the long term, if Gulfstreams not running 150 days a year and Calders running 40 or 50.
Said thoroughbred owner Scott Savin at a heated meeting of horsemen Monday: Its about two large corporations, one publicly traded [Calder] and one owned by Frank Stronach [Gulfstream], trying to get the better of each other so that one of them is going to end up controlling racing in South Florida. Now these two corporations are going to have to slug it out, and we may be in the line of fire.
Wolfson was once a staunch supporter of Calder.
But he said working conditions at the track have deteriorated so greatly in recent years under Churchills ownership that he no longer supports the place. He said he doesnt even like to acknowledge that he trains horses at Calder. Wolfson said that for the past several years he has identified himself as a Gulfstream trainer, even though his horses are at Calder.
I always say, This is Marty from Gulfstream, he said. I never say, This is Marty from Calder. Its like an embarrassment.