Calder Race Course held it's first race on May 6th, 1971 and held its last race on November 28th, 2020. After nearly 50 years of racing and through several new owners and even a name change (Gulfstream Park West), the track will close its doors.
The fight to keep Calder open has been a long, but losing battle. Part of the problem was that it lost its racing days significantly over the years. The track that once had 128 days finished this year with just 40. The dominance of The Stronach Group and Gulfstream Park has played a major part in the decline as they worked to make Gulfstream Park a year round racing facility. They also leased Gulfstream Park West's racing license to Churchill Downs, Inc. Calder Casino opened in 2004 after pari-mutuel license holders were given the option to install slot machines by the state legislators. This fall, the court ruled that this type of pari-mutuel wagering activities is no longer required to have a casino.
Calder was the place where several South American jockeys got their start. Jose Santos Sr., Jose Santos, Jr, Rene Douglas, and Luis Saez all started at Calder. For horsemen, they stand to lose $8 million. That comes out to approximately 10 percent in revenue from the slot machines. They also see it as a sign of the times. It wasn't all that long ago that the beautiful Hollywood Park was turned into highrises and real estate.
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