Florida Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse Owners, Trainers, Breeders Adopt Unprecedented Therapeutic Horse Racing Medication Uniformity Plan

Yet, Florida Legislature May Not Act to Seal the Deal

April 22, 2014–As national voices have gained strength in the debate on the use of therapeutic medication in horse racing, a group of organizations representing nearly 10,000 Florida Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse owners, trainers and breeders had already taken the unprecedented step of uniting behind a uniform policy endorsed by both the Jockey Club and American Quarter Horse Association.  The proposal was filed in the Florida Legislature as amendment language and is yet awaiting the chance to be approved by lawmakers.

Born of a longstanding working partnership known as “United Florida Horsemen” on both Florida legislative and regulatory issues, the agreement was finalized during early April and includes the approval and endorsement of the following professional associations and organizations:

“Unfortunately, with Florida lawmakers having declared pari-mutuel and other gambling issues to be ‘dead’ for this Session, the legislative authorization needed for this unprecedented consensus will most likely have to wait another year,” explained FHBPA Executive Director Kent Stirling, a credentialed national authority who has testified before Congress on the issue.

“Florida horsemen have long stated that their goal has always been a set of national rules that gives all racing jurisdictions a level playing field in terms of thresholds and which medications are allowable.  Earlier this month, working with Matt Iuliano from the Jockey Club, we were finally able to draft and submit legislation here in Florida which achieves that goal,” explained FHBPA President Phil Combest.

Among the most notable components of the plan espoused by the United Florida Horsemen was the adoption of Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Penalty Guidelines and agreement to adopt the Schedule of ARCI Controlled Therapeutic Medications.

“With the power of Florida’s horsemen now in complete alignment, we’re optimistic that the recent commitments toward uniformity by our industry colleagues will continue to drive the national conversation toward state-by-state adoption of both legislation and regulation necessary to make real uniformity a reality,” Stirling said.  “While we wait on Florida’s Legislature to act—hopefully in alignment with the aggressive goals set forth this week by the Stronach Group’s ambitious plan, we’re confident that Florida now sets the standard for true uniformity for others that have yet to come on board.”

Florida’s 2014 Legislative Session concludes on May 2.

To learn more about legislative and regulatory issues facing Florida’s billion-dollar horse racing industry, go to www.FloridaHorsemen.com

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Florida Turning Away Quarter Horse Business Happily Received By Australian “Sunshine State”

“American Quarter Horse racing is big business and it takes a country like Australia to recognize its many economic benefits,” said FQHRA Board member Ben Hudson, who is among the group of national AQHA executives called upon by Australia to handle the project. “It’s a conundrum as to why Florida is casting aside the very same opportunity eagerly sought out by a government as large, historic and experienced as Queensland.”

FQHRA/AQHA executives were invited by Queensland’s Premier Campbell Newman to join him in making the announcement about their role in Australia’s new Quarter Horse racing program before a cheering crowd of 75,000 last month in Texas, just before he finalized a Queensland/Texas sister state agreement with Texas Governor Rick Perry.

 
Roughly twice the size of Texas and known as the “Sunshine State” Down-Under, Australia’s Queensland announced in March 2014 that it has commissioned executives from the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (FQHRA) and its parent, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) to oversee the development and regulation of American Quarter Horse racing for the entirety of Queensland—the world’s sixth-largest sub-national entity.
 
“American Quarter Horse racing is big business and it takes a country like Australia to recognize its many economic benefits,” said FQHRA Board member Ben Hudson, who is among the group of national AQHA executives called upon by Australia to handle the project. “It’s a conundrum as to why Florida is casting aside the very same opportunity eagerly sought out by a government as large, historic and experienced as Queensland.”
 
The Australian Quarter Horse Association is part of the American Quarter Horse Association. 
 
The FQHRA/AQHA executives were invited by Queensland’s Premier Campbell Newman to join him in making the announcement before a cheering crowd of 75,000 last month in Texas, just before he finalized a Queensland/Texas sister state agreement with Texas Governor Rick Perry.  During the presentation, Premier Newman reminded the crowd that Texas is the “spiritual home of Quarter Horse racing.”
 
Guided by the careful oversight and experience of the FQHRA/AQHA executive contingent, Queensland’s new Quarter Horse racing authority will develop accredited competition rules, promote the breeding and acquisition of racing stock and provide for the construction of a safe, regulation racing facility.
 
Multi-million-dollar national American Quarter Horse racing operations have long regarded Florida as ripe for business development.  The consecutive years of growth spearheaded by the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association at Hialeah Park have confirmed the existence of a strong Florida Quarter Horse racing market, but frustrating regulatory disappointments and legal wrangling during the past several years have halted business expansion, with not much encouragement that the yet-existing and prohibitive loopholes deterring that growth will be closed during the 2014 Florida Legislative Session.
 
“The business development capacity that Florida is unwittingly leaving on the table is, instead, being eagerly recruited by those who truly understand the reality of Quarter Horse racing’s economic potential,” Hudson added.  “We hope that our Florida policymakers realize before it’s too late that legislative inaction has not only allowed gambling to continue to expand in Florida without legislative authorization, and worse, at the expense of a lucrative industry that is well recognized and thoroughly understood by much larger, more populous jurisdictions as a pivotal and indispensable economic development tool.”
 
During the past three years, Florida regulators have cited the state’s lack of a definition for “horse racing” as the reason for continuing to award pari-mutuel licenses for questionable events such as “barrel match racing,” “flag drops” and this past week, a series of distorted, miscast timed events that were vehemently opposed by multiple regional and national Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing owner, trainer, breeder and jockey organizations alike.
The activities have undermined both sports by deliberately curtailing the need for the amount of horses (and thus business and employees) that a normal racetrack would otherwise generate.
 
To read more about the Queensland project, click below:

Florida Gambling Expansion Alive and Well TODAY in South Marion County With More Phony Horse Events Leveraged for New Card Room

Marion Gaming Management, Central Florida Gaming, Ft. Myers Real Estate Holdings

Check out the “facilities” at Florida’s newest “racetrack”

April 7, 2014–Even as Florida lawmakers declared gambling expansion to be a “dead issue” last week, it ironically expanded TODAY in South Marion County, thanks to Florida regulators issuing a license for more unaccredited horse-related “timed events” enabling the pari-mutuel permitholder of “South Marion Real Estate Holdings” to open a 365-day a year card room at a facility it calls “Oxford Downs” near The Villages—a popular Central Florida retirement community.

“We cannot fathom why Florida seems intent on dismantling its billion-dollar horse racing industry in this manner,” said Kent Stirling, Executive Director of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA).  “As lawmakers deliberate the importance of funds for the State Budget this week, the loss of horse racing’s substantial economic and job creation engine is something taxpayers can ill afford.”

Because Florida law provides no definition of “horse racing,” regulators have continued to issue licenses to some pari-mutuel permitholders for various contrived activities that skirt the State’s requirement for live horse racing in order to hold cardrooms or slot machines.  The activities dramatically curtail the amount of horses (and thus businesses and employees) that would normally be needed to conduct a legitimate race meeting and corresponding breeding industry.

In a last-ditch effort to educate the Marion County Commission that gambling would be expanding in the heart of Florida’s internationally-acclaimed racehorse breeding industry to the detriment of their own constituents, longstanding Florida Thoroughbred and Quarter Horsemen described “Oxford Downs” as a “mockery” and a “Trojan Horse.”  To read their letters to the editor in today’s Ocala Star-Banner, click here.

National and regional organizations opposing the “South Marion/Oxford Downs” project have included the American Quarter Horse Association, the Jockey’s Guild, FHBPA, Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, Florida Quarter Horse Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association and Ocala Breeders’ Sales.  Membership in these organizations totals nearly 400,000 horsemen–accredited racehorse owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders worldwide.

After reportedly being physically intimidated with vehicles, and verbally menaced with arrest and other threats, officials from a major Florida horse racing industry group attempting to attend today’s public “South Marion/Oxford Downs” events were ordered to leave.

Below are hyperlinks to the South Marion Real Estate Holdings pari-mutuel license information.

Permitholder Application for Annual License and Operating Day SOUTH MARION REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS, LLC Primary 545
PM Operate Lic
Current
06/30/2014
                        Main Address*: PO BOX 650 OXFORD, FL 34484
Permit to Conduct Pari-Mutuel Wagering SOUTH MARION REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS, LLC Primary 545
PMW Permit
Current
                        Main Address*: PO BOX 650 OXFORD, FL 34484