Calder conducted its inaugural race card on May 6, 1971. It replaced Tropical Park, which had been in operation since 1931.
In 1995 Calder celebrated its “Silver Season,” its twenty-fifth year of racing. In 1996 Calder was able to offer full card simulcasting, but on a limited schedule. In 1997 the full card simulcasting expanded and they revamped the stakes schedule. In 1999 Churchill Downs Incorporated agrees to purchase Calder Race Course. The acquisition was valued at approximately $86 million. In 2000 Calder introduced its new miniature horse mascots, Thunder and Lightning.
Inaugural “Summit of Speed”-featuring $1 million in sprint races-is held in July. Calder opens for the summer meet one month earlier on the calendar, which allows for the entire Triple Crown series to be simulcast at the track. The Summit of Speed attracts Orientate, who goes on to win the Eclipse Award as champion sprinter. The Florida Million is introduced in November. In 2003 The Summit of Speed handled $10,541,440, Calder’s all-time single day total handle record; Cajun Beat and Shake You Down, who both competed at Calder that day, later finish first and third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Major Races: $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint, July 31; $300,000 Miami Breeders’ Cup Handicap, October 2; $300,000 Princess Rooney Handicap, October 16; $200,000 Calder Derby, October 30; $200 Calder Oaks, October 30