Rectifying Past Florida Pari-Mutuel Regulatory Wrongs A Step in the Right Direction, Horsemen Say

Given  the imminent final phase of the Florida Legislature’s highly anticipated gaming study, how proposed new pari-mutuel rules might factor into future policymaking is unknown, but Florida’s horsemen agree that recent developments on both the regulatory and legislative fronts have horse racing industry leaders feeling somewhat hopeful.

Statewide, racehorse owners, trainers and breeders will be watching closely this Monday, September 23, 2013, as the Florida Senate Gaming Committee holds its first interim meeting from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Tallahassee.

At Monday’s meeting, Senators will meet to discuss the format and schedule for a series of four (4) public workshops scheduled around the state to review a study conducted by Spectrum Gaming Inc. on Florida’s gaming industry and its economic effects.   They will also review Part 1 of the Spectrum study, parts of which with horsemen have concerns.

“There’s no denying that the laws and rules surrounding horse racing are complex,” said Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Executive Director Kent Stirling, whose organization represents nearly 6,000 independent Thoroughbred horse owners and trainers.   “But we definitely feel that some of the statements in Part 1 of the Spectrum Study could use clarification—for instance, citing declines in paid attendance when, in fact, there has been no paid attendance at Florida horse tracks in years.”

The Gaming Committee’s first public workshop on the Spectrum Study takes place on October 23 in Coconut Creek at Broward College North Campus from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Regulatory Hearings on New Horse Racing Rules Begin Just Days Earlier

But just days earlier on October 16—also in Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale)—the first of a series of regulatory hearings held by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering will also take place.  Public comment will be allowed on a slate of proposed new horse racing Rules—many of which seem to address heretofore wildly variant interpretations of Florida horse racing law that have freely proliferated during the past several  years—particularly to the detriment of legitimate, accredited Quarter Horse racing as sanctioned by the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (FQHRA).

“While we’re not yet sure how the Division’s rulemaking might dovetail with any findings and legislation filed by the Senate Gaming Committee, Florida’s horsemen definitely think our regulators are moving in the right direction—back toward normalcy, with respect to Florida’s hard-earned acclaim in the global horse racing community,” said FQHRA President Dr. Steve Fisch, whose organization represents the Florida arm of the powerful American Quarter Horse Association.

“Horsemen are ready to work with the Division to ensure aberrations like six-foot tall, 200-pound wranglers dressed in dungarees and t-shirts are no longer allowed to pass for ‘jockeys’ in Florida—as has been the case,” Stirling added.  “It’s been a protracted insult to legitimate jockeys—some of the finest, most courageous and accomplished professional athletes in all of sports—and many of whom choose Florida as their annual headquarters.”

“Horsemen are ready to support our regulators in what we hope will be a new day toward legitimacy, profitability for our members and a proper return on horse racing’s positive economic impact,” Fisch said.

For more information about issues affecting Florida horsemen, go to:


As Florida Senate Spectrum Gaming Study Hearings Begin, Independent Horsemen Who Put on the Show Remind Lawmakers Their Interests Must be Separately Considered

With the Florida Senate Gaming Committee set to hold its first interim meeting this Monday (September 23) before commencing a series of public workshops next month (the first is October 23 in Coconut Creek), the professional horsemen of Florida’s horse racing industry seek to remind legislators and others that they—and often their interests–are independent of pari-mutuel permitholders and their casino corporate owners.

“The term ‘horsemen’ designates those men and women who are either racehorse owners, trainers or breeders,” explained Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Executive Director Kent Stirling, whose organization represents nearly 6,000 independent Thoroughbred owners or trainers, all of whom individually operate thousands of businesses—most staffed with full-time employees.

“Horsemen are those individuals, businesses and their employees who make the costly investment of time and money to get a young horse ready to race,” added Dr. Steve Fisch, President of the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association—the Florida arm of the American Quarter Horse Association.  “We are the professionals who shoulder the task of breeding, raising, nurturing and ultimately maintaining that horse during its racing career.  We put on the horse racing show from which tracks profit.   Essentially, horsemen supply the figurative ‘gasoline’ that runs the horse racing ‘engine’”

“It’s often mistakenly assumed that horsemen’s interests always coincide with those of pari-mutuel permitholders.  Sometimes they do—but other times, they simply don’t,” Stirling said.  “In crafting any future pari-mutuel laws and regulations, that’s an important point for our policymakers to remember.  So important, in fact, that horsemen’s rights have long been protected by both state and federal law.”

Also defined as horsemen are members of the venerable Ocala-based Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, who power the state’s internationally acclaimed horse breeding industry, along with another statutory organization–the Florida Quarter Horse Breeders’ and Owners’ Association—which is growing in size as legitimate Quarter Horse racing has gained exponential popularity at Hialeah Park, despite the scourge of imposter events staged by various rogue North Florida permitholders during the past few years.

As Senators begin their statewide public workshops on the results of the final phase of the Spectrum Gaming Study, united advocates from Florida’s horse racing professional organizations will be on hand throughout the entire process to ensure that horsemen’s interests are well-defined and vigorously represented.

Florida Pari-Mutuel Regulation Overhaul, Legislative Gaming Study To Be Held Concurrently; Horse Racing Industry Wonders About End-Game, Dara Kam Reports

Post by Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Horsemen and just about everyone else are wondering what’s the deal with the proposed new #Florida horse racing rule overhaul announced last week–and its surprise scheduling smack in the face of the coming (but completely separate) legislative hearings for the same purpose??  Dara Kam reports for The News Service of Florida that the proposed Rules are making just about everyone–even the bad actors, #casino lawyers and dungaree-donned “flag-drop” phony “jockeys”–scratch their heads. #FHBPA‘s Kent Stirling tells Dara in the article that, if regulators are trying to help, they have a funny way of communicating it. “There’s this thing called the phone,” he said. Under the new proposals, for example, races wouldn’t count if a certain number of horses scratch, and horses would have to post at least 10 published workouts before being allowed to start. Click below to read the complete story via Sunshine State News






#Broward#PalmBeach#PaysonPark,#NorthFlorida #Orlando

Florida’s Racing Industry Horsemen Urge to Complete Economic Impact Survey; Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse Professionals Unite

Independent Results will be Presented to the Florida Legislature

  • Link to Survey Below

To ensure that the impact of Florida’s horse racing industry professionals is well represented as the Florida Legislature conducts a first-ever comprehensive evaluation of pari-mutuel and gaming laws, Florida’s horsemen have united to conduct their own study of how their collective businesses and jobs converge to keep Florida’s economy humming.

The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association–two of Thoroughbred racing’s top consortiums of owners, trainers and breeders–have joined with the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and Florida Quarter Horse Breeders’ and Owners’ Association to produce the study, which they plan to present to the Florida Legislature as lawmakers deliberate future policy direction.

Each organization is currently urging its members to complete the study’s survey, the results of which will be used to create the final report.  To complete the survey, go to:

“Just this week, Kentucky’s horse industry reported that it produces a $3 billion dollar annual economic impact,” said FHBPA Executive Director Kent Stirling, who represents some 6,000 Florida Thoroughbred owners and trainers.  “For years, Florida has ranked right along with Kentucky among the top three states as economic drivers in the industry—there’s a reason Ocala is known as the ‘Horse Capital of the World’ and South Florida is hailed as the road to the Kentucky Derby.”

The Ocala-based FTBOA is also working to get the word out to its members, many of who handle multi-million-dollar international Thoroughbred breeding sales and operations.

The American Horse Council conducted the most recent comparable survey in 2005, which revealed that Florida’s horse racing industry has a $2.2 billion dollar annual economic impact and results in 104,000 full-time annual jobs created.

Spectrum Gaming, a private company with casino affiliations, was a controversial selection from among seven vendors earlier this year by the Florida Legislature to conduct a public study of Florida’s gaming and pari-mutuel economic, fiscal and social impact.

The final portion of Spectrum’s study results is scheduled to be released on October 1, 2013.


#Florida, #horseracing, #Thoroughbred, #QuarterHorse, #SpectrumGaming, #FloridaLegislature, #FloridaGaming, #FloridaSenate, #FloridaHouse, #parimutuel, #Standardbred, #FloridaGambling, #FTBOA, #FQHRA, #AQHA, #TOBA, #Calder, #HialeahPark, #GulfstreamPark, #TampaBayDowns, #Ocala, #Tampa, #SouthFlorida, #MiamiDade, #Broward, #PalmBeach, #PalmMeadowns, #PaysonPark, #NorthFlorida, #Orlando

Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering October 16 Rule Workshop Takes Florida Horsemen By Surprise, Miami Herald’s Mary Ellen Klas Reports

Miami Herald



The Miami Herald’s Mary Ellen Klas reported today that a surprise announcement on an October 16, 2013 hearing by the #Florida Division of #PariMutuel #Wagering blindsided the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which has successfully joined forces with the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association to battle the agency in court over its decision to designate “barrel match racing” as a parimutuel sport, among other issues.

“The FHPBA was surprised to see the Division’s announcement today,” said #FHBPA Executive Director Kent Stirling. “We’re still in the process of reviewing the proposed Rule text, which appears to have already been drafted.”

To read the entire story, click on the link below (includes today’s complete news release from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering):

The FHBPA learned today, September 6, 2013, that the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering scheduled a comprehensive day-long rulemaking workshop for October 16, 2013 on a slate of technical regulations relating to pari-mutuels, including horse racing.

The October 16 workshop is scheduled to take place in Ft. Lauderdale as the first in a series of statewide regulatory hearings, the Division announced.

To view the proposed Rules and meeting information, click here.

Meanwhile, the Florida Legislature is in process of reviewing Florida’s gaming and pari-mutuel laws and has commissioned a private company, Spectrum Gaming, to conduct a study.  The Spectrum study–the final segment of which is due October 1, 2013–is expected to provide Florida lawmakers with a basis for crafting legislative policy going forward.  Before today’s surprise Division announcement, statewide legislative hearings were planned.

“Given that on January 4, 2012, a slate of rules relating to Thoroughbred racing technicalities were repealed, we need to make a thorough analysis of what’s going on,” Stirling said.

#horseracing, #FloridaPolitics, #FloridaLegislature, #SpectrumGaming, #Floridagambling, #TampaBayDowns, #GulfstreamPark, #HialeahPark, #Calder, #Thoroughbred, #QuarterHorse, #Ocala, #Tampa, #Jacksonville, #Tallahassee, #Orlando, #Naples, #MiamiDade, #Broward, #PalmBeach, #Volusia, #FloridaHorse, #FTBOA