Calder Casino & Race Course will host the 21st annual Festival of the Sun on Saturday, October 13, an afternoon dedicated to thoroughbred racing that will feature five stakes worth an estimated $850,000 in purse money, including the finals of the prestigious Florida Stallion Stakes and the Grade 3 Spend A Buck Handicap, along with ceremonies throughout the day to honor retired thoroughbred race horses now serving the community in their second careers.
Since its inception in 1992, the Festival of the Sun has been the signature event on the Calder racing calendar, routinely serving as a showcase for top locally-based horses along with some of the most promising young horses in North America as they prepare for the year-end Breeders’ Cup. In recent years, Stallion Stakes winners Awesome Feather and Big Drama used their Festival of the Sun triumphs as the foundation for future success in the Breeders’ Cup, while others such as Awesome Belle, Fort Loudon, Mad Flatter, and Mambo Meister also made Breeders’ Cup appearances following a Festival of the Sun victory.
While the racing portion of the Festival of the Sun program will feature an afternoon of top thoroughbreds still practicing their trade on the track, Calder will also use the day to honor several retired racehorses as individual ceremonies will be held in conjunction with Florida TRAC (Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care), Horses and the Handicapped, the Broward Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol, and Hobbs Equestrian. Among the retired horses scheduled to appear as part of the Festival of the Sun ceremonies include the Milt Wolfson-trained two-time graded stakes winner The Judge Sez Who and the former Dave Fawkes trainee Possetothemax.
Dining options on Festival of the Sun will include a buffet in both the fifth-floor Turf Club and fourth-floor Clubhouse Dining Room that will feature a wide variety of salads, hot items, action stations, and dessert tables. The Turf Club buffet is available for just $33 per person, while the Clubhouse Dining Room buffet costs $23 per person. For a more casual culinary experience, a trackside barbecue will also be presented.
In addition to top-flight racing and quality fare, guests in attendance at the Festival of the Sun will have the opportunity to win one of several $100 mutuel vouchers to be given away as part of a drawing that will take place following the fifth race. Entries can be picked up at the TSC Elite Players Club on the second floor of the grandstand and must be deposited by 1:30 p.m. on race day.
Adding to the festive nature of the day will be a live on-site broadcast from the network HRTV with Caton Bredar and Peter Lurie scheduled to anchor the afternoon-long coverage.
General parking and admission to Calder Casino & Race Course is free. Reservations for the Turf Club and for the Clubhouse Dining Room on Festival of the Sun are highly encouraged. Reserved box seating packages are also available. For more information, or to make reservations, call (305) 625-7227.