The $250,000 Calder Derby, featuring top 3-year-olds running 1 1/8 miles on the dirt, and the First Bet’s On Us promotion, in which guests purchasing an official program will receive a $2 betting voucher, highlight the April 6 opening of the 2013 live racing season at Calder Casino & Race Course.
Switched from the main track to the turf course in 1998, the Calder Derby returns to dirt in 2013, while also getting a $100,000 purse increase over last year, and will serve as a launching point for sophomore standouts eyeing a run at the prestigious Triple Crown races. This year’s Calder Derby will feature the local return of Speak Logistics, 2012 winner of the $300,000 In Reality Stakes at Calder.
In addition to the First Bet’s On Us giveaway, Calder will offer the third installment of its springtime Derby Roll promotion on opening day, with drawings for a share of up to $3,600 in betting vouchers held in the winner’s circle from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.
With five-time local leading rider Luis Saez absent from the jockey colony this year, the race for the riding crown should prove competitive, with no name in the jockey’s room more familiar to fans of Calder than Manoel Cruz.
The all-time leading rider at Calder, Cruz returned to south Florida last summer after an extended stay in Kentucky and quickly ascended the jockey standings, finishing sixth during a truncated appearance at the Calder Meet before ending the year as the Tropical Meet’s third leading rider.
Other regular occupants of last year’s riding colony scheduled to return in 2013 include 2010-11 Tropical champion Jose Alvarez, 2012 Calder Meet runner-up Joe Rodriguez, last year’s Tropical Meet second-place finisher Hugo Sanchez, and past Breeders’ Cup winning jockeys Juan Leyva and Fernando Jara.
Slated for a return to the Calder jockey’s room in 2013 is veteran rider Cornelio Velasquez. A strong presence at Calder during the early part of the past decade, Velasquez won four riding titles at Calder from 2001-2003 and currently ranks in the top 15 for all-time wins at Calder.
Last year’s leading Calder conditioner Giuseppe Iadisernia and top Tropical trainer Steve Dwoskin are likely to be well represented in the entry box and prominent in the winner’s circle in 2013, while perennial training-title contenders Kathleen O’Connell, Luis Ramirez, Bill White, and Kirk Ziadie are expected to chase Iadisernia and Dwoskin for top honors.
Important facts about the upcoming 2013 season:
- Live racing schedule: Thursday through Sunday each week until June 30 with a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday live racing schedule from July 5 through December 29.
- The 76-day Calder Meet runs from April 6 until August 31. The 53-day Tropical Meet begins September 1 and continues until December 29.
- First-race post time for the Calder Meet is 12:50pm; Tropical Meet post time is 12:30pm
- Major stakes events: Summit Preview (June 8), Summit of Speed (July 6), Juvenile Showcase (Aug. 24), Festival Preview (Sept. 14), Festival of the Sun (Oct. 12), Florida Million (Nov. 9), plus five graded stakes to be run during the final weeks of the Tropical Meet.
- Florida’s Biggest Kentucky Derby Party on May 4
- Rolling doubles added to the wagering menu in 2013
- Simulcast wagering available every day on major North American Thoroughbred tracks and a variety of South American programs offered by the Latin American Racing Channel (LARC)
- Free admission and parking; valet parking available
Where to find Calder…
Calder Casino & Race Course is located at 21001 NW 27th Avenue (University Drive) in Miami Gardens, Fla., just north of Sun Life Stadium, current home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and University of Miami Hurricanes football. Phone numbers are (305) 625-1311 and (954) 523-4324. The official Calder Web site is www.calderracecourse.com.
Calder’s races are broadcast on its own closed-circuit simulcast channel, the cable network HRTV, and online at www.twinspires.com/tv. Wagering on Calder is available at pari-mutuel facilities throughout the state of Florida and the United States, as well as online at www.twinspires.com. Telephone wagering and mobile phone applications are also available for Twin Spires account holders.
While the Calder Web site offers all the racing information horse racing fans and handicappers need, Calder’s social media sites on Facebook and Twitter offer the forum for interactive experiences. The sites can be found at www.facebook.com/CalderCasinoandRaceCourse and http://twitter.com/CalderRacing.