Amid Ongoing Negotiations With Gulfstream Park, Headline Misrepresents Florida Horsemen

New Times Broward/Palm Beach was notified on April 12, 2012 that the headline of their published article “Gulfstream Park Draws Ire From Horsemen for Running Last-Minute Quarter-Horse Race” had been altered on a gaming-themed blog to reflect the exact opposite statement.

The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Inc. (FHBPA), which is the entity referenced in the New Times headline and article, is presently in negotiations with Gulfstream Park concerning statutory purse (prize) contracts.  Based in Miami, the FHBPA (an affiliate of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association) represents over 6,000 members statewide to ensure Thoroughbred tracks’ proper payment and distribution of purse money to Thoroughbred owners, among its other traditional undertakings.

The FHBPA currently has a valid and binding contract with Gulfstream Park stating that only Thoroughbred racing may be conducted there.

To view the original article with the correct headline, click here.

To view a screen shot showing the altered headline, click here:  Florida Gaming Watch Headline

Florida Gretna Racing LLC “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing” Case To Be Continued On June 26, 2012

After nearly three days of testimony and at least six witnesses still remaining to testify yesterday, April 11, 2012, the case involving a dispute over the award of a racing license by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to Gretna Racing LLC was temporarily halted and will be taken back up over a three-day period beginning June 26, 2012.
 
Since the award of that license, Gretna Racing has used it to conduct a brand new form of gambling it calls “pari-mutuel barrel racing.” 
 
Nearly 450,000 horsemen in eight Florida and national organizations have agreed that the Division’s license award to Gretna Racing is an overstep of regulatory authority and constitutes an unpromulgated Rule.
 
During this week’s administrative hearing, the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (the Florida arm of the American Quarter Horse Association, which regulates and oversees the integrity of Quarter Horse racing worldwide) questioned the State’s hasty award to Gretna Racing, given the Division’s knowledge that the license would be used for “pari-mutuel barrel racing” as a new Florida gambling product.
 
Normally, the introduction of a new gambling product into the market would be enabled with the passage of legislation, followed by subsequent regulatory hearings in which public input would be provided and considered.  With “pari-mutuel barrel racing,” none of that process occurred.
 
Now enabled to minimally meet Florida live racing requirements for poker and slot machine licensing through “pari-mutuel barrel racing,” other Florida pari-mutuel permitholders are in line to leverage this new gambling product to acquire slot machines without conducting legitimate racing, which heretofore has employed over 50,000 documented Floridians per year who produce over $2.2 billion in economic impact.   Instead of 1,000 or more horses at a typical racetrack, “pari-mutuel barrel racing” plummets the need for that supply to just 8 per day, of which the same 8 horses can, and have been used over and over again, while the cardrooms stay open 365 days a year.
 
The implications of allowing “pari-mutuel barrel racing” to decimate the enormous economic impact of Florida’s heretofore successful horse racing and breeding industry are dire.   The State of Florida cannot afford to allow clever lawyering and loopholes to destroy its internationally known horse racing and breeding industry in this manner.

Joint Statement by the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (the Florida Chapter of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association) and the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (the Florida arm of the American Quarter Horse Racing Association) on the final event at Gulfstream Park April 8, 2012 (Update–“Results” Below):

Joint Statement by the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (the Florida Chapter of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association) and the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (the Florida arm of the American Quarter Horse Racing Association) on the final event at Gulfstream Park today, April 8, 2012:

“It should be advised that today’s unlawful Gulfstream Park event billed as a ‘Quarter Horse’ race is not recognized, authorized or regulated by the American Quarter Horse Association, which regulates and oversees the integrity of all lawful Quarter Horse racing globally and in the United States, including Florida.  At no time has the American Quarter Horse Association been contacted about approving Gulfstream’s plans for today.

Further, the horses in today’s highly questionable event have not even been certified as actual registered, accredited Quarter Horses.  The lack of a regulation starting gate and the use of barrel racing riders as ‘jockeys’ should be of great concern to the public as to the legitimacy of the fiasco.

Why Gulfstream Park has chosen now to so flagrantly violate its current and binding contract with the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association remains a mystery, but track officials have been duly notified that our organization, which represents over 6,000 Thoroughbred horsemen in the State of Florida, will use all necessary remedies to ensure racing there is implemented properly, with integrity and according to our contract, and both state and federal law.

The question still remains as to whether a race was actually ever even run under Gulfstream’s Quarter Horse ‘After Care’ license on December 31, 2011, and whether the State of Florida will allow that, combined with today’s unlawful event, to technically fulfill Florida’s two-year live racing requirements, with the goal toward opening a new casino that would include additional slot machines.”

Update on the “results” of yesterday’s phony “Quarter Horse” race at Gulfstream Park–apparently, the duel was won by a 12 year-old mare of unknown breeding, who paid $3.00 to win.  It is not known whether the barrel race riders, who used Western saddles and were dressed up to resemble jockeys, were weighed in before the event, or were held to any other such regulation.  Since the American Quarter Horse Association has not authorized or approved Gulfstream’s “Quarter Horse” event, Equibase did not even track the results.

What IS known is that more than several rules of racing were broken in carrying out the event, including the issuance of duplicitous entry sheets, and a serious infraction of entering a horse in the “race” after the entries were closed.  This is illegal in both Thoroughbred AND Quarter Horse racing.  One of the horses that finally “ran” was actually one of the illegal entries.

Nowhere in Gulfstream’s on-line results, entries or scratches does the billed “Quarter Horse race” show up.  What data will be reported the the State of Florida is anyone’s guess.

Barrel Racers to Compete at Gulfstream Park in South Florida Sunday, April 8, 2012

Please note that the two riders listed on the 4/8 event are barrel racers.

A copy of the Gulfstream “overnight entries” for Sunday, April 8 (right). 

Despite related ongoing turmoil and protracted litigation, Gulfstream Park has unilaterally decided to proceed with its own version of Quarter Horse racing.  To view a copy of the Gulfstream “overnight entries” for Sunday, April 8 click here or on the photo to the right>.
 
Please note that the two riders listed on the April event are barrel racers.  It is assumed that their horses are also barrel racers.  However, the race will be a 220-yard dash.  The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA’s) understanding is that the two horses will start by the drop of a flag.
 
Although the “race” shown on the attachment is scheduled to fulfill what was supposed to be the second half of Gulfstream’s December 31/January 1 “Gulfstream Park After Care Quarter Horse Permit Meet,” there is strong question as to whether the initial race of the “Gulfstream After Care” licensed race scheduled for December 31, 2011 was actually run, since, although Gulfstream officials claimed publicly not to have run the race that day, but nevertheless reported wagering totals to the State of Florida.  The FHBPA’s understanding is that Gulfstream was fined a small amount by the State of Florida for the faulty reporting.  To view the handle report, click on the following link:  http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pmw/documents/HandleandCardroom2011-2012–2012-03-13–February–YTD.pdf
 
It is also the FHBPA’s understanding that, given the State’s acceptance that there was, indeed, a race actually run under Gulfstream’s Quarter Horse permit on December 31, that Sunday’s (4/8) race would technically fulfill Florida’s two-year live racing requirements with the goal toward opening a new casino that would include additional slot machines.
 
Sunday’s Barrel Horse race was scheduled without the permission or knowledge of the FHBPA, which has a contractual agreement with Gulfstream Park stating that ONLY Thoroughbred horse racing is to be run at the facility. 
 
“The FHBPA has been negotiating with Gulfstream on a new purse contract since the end of 2011.  However, the results have been frustratingly unsuccessful,” FHBPA President Phil Combest explained.  “Obviously, we, the horsemen, are, by definition, totally committed to the future of Thoroughbred racing at Gulfstream, but if Gulfstream intended to engage in legitimate Quarter Horse racing, it would have done so with the approval and sanction of the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, which is the Florida arm of the American Quarter Horse Association.  We do not even remotely understand how Gulfstream’s use of barrel racers in what they are terming ‘Quarter Horse racing’ fits in here.”

“It’s also extremely important to understand that we currently have a valid and binding purse contract with Gulfstream which runs through December 31, 2012.  That contract explicitly states that there will NO racing of any type other than Thoroughbred racing at Gulfstream,” Combest added.
 
“Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing” at North Florida’s Gretna Racing LLC (co-owned by Gulfstream Park lobbyist Marc Dunbar and former Gulfstream Park attorney David Romanik) has resulted in 99.1% drops in pari-mutuel handle, along with a precipitous drop in the need for horses from some 1,000 to less than 50 to complete a “meet.”

Gretna Racing LLC Co-Owner and Former Gulfstream Park Attorney David Romanik Deposed in Florida Taxpayer-Funded Litigation to Subsidize and Protect Failure of “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing”

  • To access the complete dockets for Taxpayer-Funded Litigation to Protect Gretna Racing LLC’s “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing,” and the “North Florida Horsemen’s Association” Retaliatory Nuicance Case, which is also forcing the State of Florida to expend taxpayer dollars t0 defend Gretna Racing in drawn-out litigation, scroll down.
  • Click here to read the Tampa Tribune Commentary on the “Gretna Loophole” that Hamilton Downs Jai Alai plans to exploit.

From The Florida Current

Gretna Racing partner David Romanik deposed in barrel racing case

By Gray Rohrer, 04/04/2012 – 04:58 PM

 
David Rominik, a partner in Gretna Racing LLC, the group that received a license from state regulators last year allowing them to conduct barrel horse races, was deposed Wednesday in Ocala as part of an administrative court case in which quarter horse racing groups are seeking to invalidate the license.

The Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and the American Quarter Horse Association are fighting the license because they contend the new form of pari-mutuel license is a way of minimizing the costly overhead involved in racing quarter horses and thoroughbreds. An administrative court judge will hear the case in Tallahassee next week.

In barrel racing, bettors wage money on which horse has fastest time through a course on a rodeo-like track set up with barrels. Horses race one at a time in timed events, as opposed to traditional horse racing in which several horses race to the finish line.

The groups contend that the license issued by the state’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering constitutes an unpromulgated rule without statutory sanction. Gretna Racing, however, has countered that FQHRA and AQHA are merely trying to solidify their “monopoly” on agreements with existing horse tracks for prize and purse money, freezing out the newly formed North Florida Horsemen’s Association.

Attempts to reach Gretna Racing officials Wednesday were unsuccessful. But in response to an attempt by the FQHRA to get a court to grant a stay of the license last year, their lawyers noted that “Florida law has never defined the terms ‘horse race’ or ‘horse racing’ . . . undoubtedly because these words, since the founding of our country, have consistently been interpreted to mean simply a contest between two or more horses racing against each other or against time.”

Meanwhile, the NFHA, which the other quarter horse groups contend is a front organization for Romanik and fellow Gretna Racing partner Marc Dunbar, is challenging a purse agreement between the Florida Quarter Horse Breeders and Owners Association (which is affiliated with FQHRA) and the Hialeah Park Race Track. FQHRA officials say the challenge, which is set for an administrative court hearing in May, is simply a tactic to pressure the groups fighting the barrel racing license.

“The agreement is fairly boilerplate,” said Michael Barry, a lawyer representing the quarter horse groups in the case. “It’s clearly been brought as a way to retaliate against the quarter horse associations for challenging the barrel racing license at Gretna.”

A decision from the administrative court judge in the barrel racing license case is not expected until two months after the hearing.

Reporter Gray Rohrer can be reached at grohrer@thefloridacurrent.com.

Filed in: Gaming
Tags: Pari-Mutuels

Docket for Case No: 12-000896

NORTH FLORIDA HORSEMEN’S ASSOCIATION, INC.
vs.
FLORIDA QUARTER HORSE BREEDERS AND OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., AND FLORIDA QUARTER HORSE RACING ASSOCIATION, INC., AND DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION, DIVISION OF PARI-MUTUEL WAGERING

Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 4/3/2012 Notice of Hearing (hearing set for May 22, 2012; 9:00 a.m.; Tallahassee, FL).
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 4/3/2012 Order of Pre-hearing Instructions.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/27/2012 Notice of Transfer.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/23/2012 Response to Initial Order filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/14/2012 Initial Order.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/13/2012 Agency referral filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/13/2012 Petition for Formal Administrative Hearing Involving Disputed Issues of Material Fact filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/13/2012 Motion to Dismiss filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/13/2012 Response to Motion to Dismiss filed.

Docket for Case No: 11-005796RU

FLORIDA QUARTER HORSE RACING ASSOCIATION, INC.; FLORIDA QUARTER HORSE BREEDERS, AND OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC.; AND GERALD KEESLING
vs.
DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION, DIVISION OF PARI-MUTUEL WAGERING

Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 4/3/2012 Respondent and Intervenors’ Joint Motion for More Definite Statement filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 4/2/2012 Notice of Agency Representative Deposition filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/30/2012 Notice of Deposition (of D. Romanik) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/30/2012 Notice of Corporate Representative Deposition filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/28/2012 Intervenor’s Notice of Taking Deposition (of S. Fisch) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/28/2012 Notice of Deposition (of M. Champion) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/28/2012 Notice of Depositions (of W. Cox, S. Dymmik, and B. Dickman) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 3/28/2012 Notice of Telephonic Deposition (of D. Donn) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 2/14/2012 Order Granting Continuance and Re-scheduling Hearing (hearing set for April 9 through 11, 2012; 9:00 a.m.; Tallahassee, FL).
Not Available 2/14/2012 CASE STATUS: Pre-Hearing Conference Held.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 2/13/2012 Letter to Judge Sellers from M. Dunbar regarding request for telephone conference to re-schedule final hearing filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/30/2012 Order Granting Continuance and Re-scheduling Hearing (hearing set for March 28 through 30, 2012; 9:00 a.m.; Tallahassee, FL).
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/27/2012 Intervenor’s Notice of Stay filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/27/2012 Intervenor’s Memorandum of Law filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/27/2012 Amended Notice of Hearing (hearing set for February 2 and 3, 2012; 10:30 a.m.; Tallahassee, FL; amended as to starting time on first day of hearing).
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/27/2012 Amended Notice of Hearing (hearing set for February 2, 3 and 6, 2012; 10:30 a.m.; Tallahassee, FL; amended as to dates of hearing).
Not Available 1/27/2012 CASE STATUS: Pre-Hearing Conference Held.
Not Available 1/27/2012 CASE STATUS: Pre-Hearing Conference Held.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/24/2012 Notice of Telephonic Deposition (of D. Donn) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/24/2012 Notice of Telephonic Deposition (of M. Champion) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/20/2012 Notice of Depositions (of L.P. Stallings and C. Taylor) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/20/2012 Intervenor’s Notice of Taking Depositions (of T. Buck, D. Schauf, G. Keesling, and S. Fisch) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/19/2012 Notice of Deposition (of K. Allen) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/18/2012 Order Denying Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/18/2012 Intervenor’s Response to Petitioners’ First Request for Production of Documents filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/18/2012 Certificate of Service of Intervenor’s Answers to Petitioners’s First Interrogatories to Intervenor filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/13/2012 Notice of Serving Petitioners’ First Set of Interrogatories on Intervenor filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/13/2012 Petitioner’s First Request for Production of Documents to Intervenor filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/12/2012 Petitioner, Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, Inc.’s Response to Respondent’s First Request for Admissions filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/12/2012 Petitioner, Florida Quarter Horse Breeders and Owners Association, Inc.’s Response to Respondent’s First Request for Admissions filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/12/2012 Notice of Service Respondent’s Answers to Petitioners’ First Set of Interrogatories filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/12/2012 Division’s Response to Petitioners’ First Request for Admissions filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/12/2012 Department of Business & Professional Regulation Division of Pari-mutuel Wagerings Response to Petitioners’ First Request for Production filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/11/2012 Petitioners’ Response in Opposition to Intervenor’s Motion to Dismiss filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/11/2012 Petitioner, Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, Inc.’s Response to Respondent’s First Request for Production filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/11/2012 Petitioner, Florida Quarter Horse Breeders and Owners Associaiton, Inc.’s Response to Respondent’s First Request for Production filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/11/2012 Notice of Serving Petitioner’s Unverified Answers to Respondent, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Parimutiel Wagering’s First Interrogatories filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/11/2012 Notice of Serving Petitioner’s Unverified Answers to Respondent, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering’s First Interrogatories filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/10/2012 Intervenor’s Notice of Supplemental Authority filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/6/2012 Notice of Depositions (of J. Pouncey, J. Blackman, and J. Dillmore) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 1/3/2012 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/20/2011 Notice of Scrivener’s Error filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/20/2011 Order Denying Request to Take Official Recognition and Motion to Abate.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/20/2011 Order Granting, in Part, and Denying, in Part, Motion to Dismiss Amended Petition Challenging Agency Statement Defined as a Rule and Denying Motion to Strike.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/19/2011 Petitioners’ Response in Opposition to Respondents’ Motions to Abate filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/19/2011 Division’s Joinder in Motion to Dismiss by Intervenor Florida Quarter Horse Track Association filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/16/2011 Motion to Dismiss Amended Petition and Motion to Strike Request for Unauthorized Relief filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/6/2011 Order Re-scheduling Hearing (hearing set for February 2 and 3, 2012; 9:00 a.m.; Tallahassee, FL).
Not Available 12/6/2011 CASE STATUS: Pre-Hearing Conference Held.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/5/2011 The Intervenor’s Response in Opposition to Motion for Continuance filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/5/2011 Order Granting Continuance (parties to advise status by January 5, 2012).
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/5/2011 Order Granting Motion for Leave to Amend Petition Challenging Agency Statement as Defined as a Rule.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/5/2011 Order Denying Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering`s Requests to Take Official Recognition.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/5/2011 Order Denying Division`s Motion to Stay Proceedings.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/2/2011 Intervenor’s Request to Take Official Recognition and Motion to Abate this Proceeding Resolution of Pending Appeal filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/2/2011 Motion for Continuance filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/2/2011 Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering’s Concurrence/Joinder in Intervenor’s Request for Official Recognition and Motion to Abate Pending Resolution of Pending Appeal filed.
Not Available 12/2/2011 CASE STATUS: Pre-Hearing Conference Held.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 12/1/2011 Notice of Appearance (Marc Dunbar) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/30/2011 Letter to Judge Sellers from Cathy M. Sellers from D. Romanik in response to Order of November 29, 2011 filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/29/2011 The Intervenor’s Supplemental Response in Opposition to the Petitioners’ Motion to Amend Petition filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/29/2011 Petitioners’ Response in Opposition to Motion to Stay Administrative Proceeding filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/29/2011 Notice of Telephonic Motion Hearing (motion hearing set for December 2, 2011; 2:00 p.m.).
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/28/2011 Joinder in Motion to Dismiss filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/28/2011 The Intervenor’s Response to the Petitioners’ Motion to Amend Petition filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/23/2011 Petitioners, Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, Inc., and Florida Quarter Horse Breeders and Owners Association, Inc.,’s First Request for Admissions to Respondent, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/23/2011 Petitioners’ First Request to Take Official Recognition filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/23/2011 Notice of Serving Petitioners’ First Set of Interrogatories on Defendant, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/23/2011 Petitioners’ First Request for Production of Documents to Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/23/2011 Motion Seeking Leave to Amend Petition Challenging Agency Statement Defined as a Rule filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/22/2011 Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering’s Third Request to Take Official Recognition filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/22/2011 Respondent’s First Request for Admissions to Petitioner Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, Inc. filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/22/2011 Respondent’s First Request for Admissions to Petitioner, Florida Quarter Horse Breeders and Owners Association, Inc. filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/22/2011 Respondent’s First Request for Production to Petitioner Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, Inc. filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/22/2011 Respondent’s First Request for Production to Petitioner, Florida Quarter Horse Breeders and Owners Association, Inc. filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/22/2011 Notice of Service of Interrogatories filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/22/2011 Petitioners’ Response in Opposition to Division’s Preliminary Motion to Dismiss filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/21/2011 Order Granting Petition to Intervene.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/21/2011 Division’s Motion to Stay Proceedings filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/21/2011 Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering’s Second Request to Take Official Recognition filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/18/2011 Notice of Appearance (Ralf Michels) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/16/2011 Notice of Hearing (hearing set for December 13 and 14, 2011; 9:00 a.m.; Tallahassee, FL).
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/16/2011 Order of Pre-hearing Instructions.
Not Available 11/16/2011 CASE STATUS: Pre-Hearing Conference Held.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/15/2011 Petition to Intervene (filed by Florida Quarter Horse Track Association, Inc.) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/15/2011 Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering’s First Request to Take Official Recognition filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/15/2011 Notice of Appearance (Charles Collette) filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/15/2011 Division’s Preliminary Motion to Dismiss filed.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/15/2011 Notice of Appearance (David Romanik) filed.
Not Available 11/15/2011 CASE STATUS: Pre-Hearing Conference Held.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/14/2011 Rule Challenge transmittal letter to Liz Cloud from Claudia Llado copying Ken Plante and the Agency General Counsel.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/14/2011 Order of Assignment.
Document in Adobe Acrobat Format 11/10/2011 Petition Challenging Agency Statement Defined as a Rule filed.
 

Tampa Tribune Commentary: Hamilton County Florida Slot Referendum Anchored by Gretna Copycat “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing”; Designed to Kill Jobs That Would Normally Be Created With Legitimate Quarter Horse Racing, FHBPA’s Kent Stirling and FQHRA’s Dr. Steven Fisch Explain

Gambling on “barrel racing”

By KENT STIRLING, STEVE FISCH|Special to The Tampa Tribune
Published: April 03, 2012   Updated: April 03, 2012 – 12:00 AM

www.tampatribune.com

As the people of Hamilton County in North Florida approach the April 10 decision on whether to allow slot machines at Hamilton Downs Jai Alai and Poker, they should know that the referendum’s backers have deliberately misled them on the number of promised jobs, as well as the highly questionable behind-the-scenes manipulation on which the referendum is based.

The stark reality is that if Hamilton Downs were holding legitimate, accredited quarter horse racing versus the contrived “parimutuel barrel racing,” a minimum of 800 more jobs would be available. The truth is available in documented real numbers — not promises or projections.

Heretofore, Florida has allowed slot machines only at facilities that hold live racing, which traditionally employs thousands of people.  Last year, more than 800 workers were licensed at Hialeah Park, at which legitimate quarter horse racing drew a daily average of 4,100 people, who wagered an average of more than $200,000 per day. Nearly $4 million in prize money was paid to competitors — all without the “help” of slot machines, poker or other predatory forms of gambling.

In direct competition, legitimate quarter horse racing out-earned Gretna Racing LLC’s self-styled “parimutuel barrel racing” by more than 99 percent. Worse, during December and January, Gretna “pari-mutuel barrel racing” paid the state of Florida only $19.64 in daily pari-mutuel taxes.

Last year, Florida’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering played a cruel trick on the people of Gretna in Gadsden County by enabling a rodeo event to be considered as a horse race. Ironically, “parimutuel barrel racing,” which is not even real barrel racing, is cleverly and purposefully designed to actually eliminate jobs that would normally be created by legitimate horse racing.

The record books will show that Gretna’s “parimutuel barrel racing” can be conducted with as few as 36 horses for the entire “meet,” whereas legitimate horse racing at Hialeah Park drew nearly 1,000 documented and accredited quarter horses from around the nation. All those horses employed a whole lot of people in Miami — both on the track and off, and drew entourages that enriched the businesses in Hialeah and Miami-Dade County, as well as generated tax payments that benefited the entire Florida economy.

Because each horse creates an average of seven jobs, Florida’s horse racing industry has grown over the years to employ in excess of 50,000 people annually, ranking us third in the nation behind New York and California. But parimutuel owners who are using “parimutuel barrel racing” to deliberately cut the number of jobs, horses and racing days down to the bare minimum don’t care. They hope their paltry promise of a few hundred jobs can fool Hamilton’s unwitting citizens, whose “yes” vote will be used to make a few insiders very wealthy, with little return for Florida’s economy.

Considered by the National Barrel Horse Association to be a joke and an insult to its sport, “parimutuel barrel racing” requires just eight horses per performance, as opposed to an actual sanctioned barrel racing event, which typically draws hundreds of horses in just one day. Nothing but a perfunctory way to meet the state’s live racing requirements, “parimutuel barrel racing” purposely eliminates the need for additional horses and their respective entourages (and thus, jobs) that legitimate horse racing brings.

When the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association insisted upon safe, American Quarter Horse Association-approved humane conditions for horses that were supposed to run in on an oval track promised by Gretna Racing LLC owners, Gretna Racing’s Alabama Poarch Indian Tribe and lobbyist-owners sued. To date, no oval track has been built, while regulators sit idle and allow these promises to be broken.

Now, other parimutuels stand to benefit from the “Gretna Loophole.”

Neither the National Barrel Horse Association nor the American Quarter Horse Association approve of “parimutuel barrel racing.” Rather, Gretna Racing “competitors” are just a pre-selected few insiders who have signed away their rights in a non-compete agreement.

“Parimutuel barrel racing” will never grow into anything. Its creators don’t want it to. What they want is your money in their slot machines.

Only with legitimate horse racing can the installation of slot machines create a winning equation that truly will grow the economy by creating thousands more jobs. And not only at the Hamilton Downs facility, but throughout the county and surrounding areas by fostering the breeding, training and racing of legitimate race horses — which is what Hamilton’s people expect. When the resulting outlying farms grow and prosper through legitimate horse racing, businesses will grow to support them.

On April 10 the people of Hamilton County should vote “no” or, better yet, save their votes for a day when the casino barons actually deliver the fair deal that taxpayers expect: 1,000 quarter horses at a real racetrack, and the thousands of jobs they create.

Kent Stirling is executive director of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.   Dr. Steven Fisch is president of the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association.