By Jim Freer
The three-year-old gelding Diligent gained a place in Florida thoroughbred racing history on Saturday when he won what undoubtedly will be the final race at Calder in Miami Gardens, Fla.
That victory came in the tenth and last race on meet-closing day for Gulfstream Park West--the name that meet sponsor Gulfstream Park used for Calder each October-November since 2014.
Calder opened in 1971 and used the name Calder Race Course until 2014 when owner Churchill Downs Inc. changed it to Calder Casino.
There was a sense of history in Saturday's last race, in that Diligent is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., a member of the Calder Hall of Fame who is among the top five in all time-trainer wins at Calder.
Saturday's tenth race also was the final leg of the Rainbow 6, which paid $6,234.36 on the 20 cent per combination-only bet. There were 390 winning tickets, according to Horse Racing FLA's review of Equibase charts.
Program numbers of the six wining horses were 11-3-3-6-11-4.
The Rainbow 6 had a carryover of $347,617 for Saturday--with a guarantee that Gulfstream would pay it all out.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Calder was not open for spectators on Saturday and throughout the 39-day GP West meet.
Thus, there was no on-track betting on GP West races, including the Rainbow 6, on Saturday.
But the attraction of the carryover generated Rainbow 6 betting of $2,608.241, through the combination of bets on Advance Deposit Wagering sites and at simulcast locations.
Saturday's Rainbow 6 handle was the second-highest for the GP West meet, according to HRFLA's data base.
The highest was $3,615,196 on Nov. 24, 2019.That was on closing day of the meet, and there was an incoming carryover of $1,094,464 with a mandatory payout.
On that day, there were 837 winning tickets, and each paid $4,781 on a 20 cent bet.
On Saturday GP West also had mandatory payouts (i.e. no carryovers) on the Late Pick 5 and on the Super Hi-5 in the last race.
Wagering on the Late Pick 5was $153,520. The payoff on a minimum 50 cent bet was $1,796.85. The number of winning tickets was not readily available.
The Super Hi-5 did not have a carryover going into the tenth race. Wagering was $24,901.
Each ticket with the 4-3-6-7-1 correct order of finish won $6,804.60 on the minimum $1 bet. There apparently were four winning tickets.
*Barring unexpected developments, Saturday was the final day of thoroughbred racing at Calder which opened in 1971.
Calder and its parent company, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI), are planning to not renew a lease under which Gulfstream Park has held October-November race meets at Calder for the past seven years.
Calder last year opened a jai-alai fronton. It is using jai-alai, rather than the leased racing dates to Gulfstream, to comply with a Florida law that requires a Florida pari-mutuel to have 40 race cards or 40 jai-alai programs a year to keep a casino license.
*On Wednesday, Gulfstream Park will begin its 2020-2021 championship meet at its track in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
First post on opening day will be 12:35 p.m. for a ten-race card.
The meet will extend through next March 28--primarily with a Wednesday through Sunday schedule,