Paulick Report Videos Reveal Florida’s Dirty Parimutuel Secret–Phony Horse “Racing”

Paulick Report Videos of South Marion Real Estate Holdings Oxford Downs


Paulick Report publisher Ray Paulick and his crew visited the latest Florida phony horse racing venue, South Marion Real Estate Holdings’ “Oxford Downs” yesterday, July 1, 2014.

The slate of videos they returned with was nothing short of shocking . . . take your pick below!   We especially enjoyed how the Oxford Downs “staff” (complete with child holding 5-iron) had to call for reinforcements upon Ray’s arrival at the “front gate!”


Despite Florida Horsemen’s Written Complaint and Court Rulings, Regulators Approve More Phony Marion County Horse “Races” Today

Despite related court rulings and a written complaint filed with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering by the United Florida Horsemen about the blatant misuse of a pari-mutuel permit issued to “South Marion Real Estate Holdings,” horse-based competitions are nevertheless scheduled to take place at the permitholder’s facility (known as “Oxford Downs”) today, July 1, 2014.

Billed as legitimate horse races, the two-horse competitions are essentially a mockery of actual horse racing, and have raised deep concern about animal welfare and regulatory standards among Florida’s horse racing owners, trainers and breeders.

“We, and our many members, are appalled by the continuing disrespect and disregard for well-established industry standards and practices by a few businessmen looking for a shortcut to poker room profits,” the United Florida Horsemen wrote to Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering Director Leon Biegalski in its May 27, 2014 complaint, to which no response has been received to date.

To read the entire United Florida Horsemen complaint, click here.

Critically, the “Oxford Downs” horse competitions are designed to sharply curtail horsemen’s participation, so as to presumably limit the positive economic activity that would normally be generated by thousands of horses and their caretakers present at a normal race meeting—creating jobs and strengthening Florida’s economy, but removing gambling profits from “Oxford Downs’” bottom line.

“These charades would almost be comical if they didn’t have such a corrosive effect on the integrity and viability of our industries and if they didn’t result in lost jobs and livelihoods—not to mention the negative impact they have on the basic character of the pari-mutuel industry in Florida . . . “the United Florida Horsemen wrote, referring to the horse racing industry’s annual billion-dollar economic impact.

The United Florida Horsemen include the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.  The organizations comprise nearly 10,000 Florida racehorse owners, trainers and breeders who do business in Florida.


Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Will Not Appeal May 6, 2013 “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing” Ruling

State of Florida Will Not Appeal May 6, 2013 “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing” Ruling

Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation will not appeal a month-old ruling in a long-running lawsuit over “pari-mutuel barrel racing” at Gretna Racing, LLC, (“Gretna”) the United Florida Horsemen learned on June 6, 2013.
Since that May 6 ruling, the State of Florida has advised Gretna and Hamilton Downs Jai Alai and Poker, another pari-mutuel permitholder holding similar activities, that both must conduct legitimate horse racing in order to maintain their cardrooms—and possibly slot machines—according to Florida law.
Normally, the market introduction of any new gambling product 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 had occurred, thus spawning the administrative litigation.
“We salute Governor Scott and our pari-mutuel regulators for upholding the integrity of the law toward much-needed clarity in Florida’s pari-mutuel statutes,” said Dr. Steve Fisch, President of the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (FQHRA), which prevailed in the case.  “We have legions of prominent national horsemen and breeders who have been waiting for a positive outcome so they can set up shop in Florida.  After our members drained their hard-earned savings to fight this seemingly endless battle over what was essentially a get-rich-quick scheme, we are hopeful that today’s decision by regulators not to appeal assures Florida’s horsemen that the State really does want to keep and grow its long-held title as a top international horse racing destination.”
Meanwhile, co-owners of Gretna—both prominent pari-mutuel lobbyist-lawyers who concurrently litigated the case as “intervenors” on behalf of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering—filed a notice of appeal earlier this week under a self-owned association name, adding to the turmoil of several still-pending lawsuits directly related to the May 6 “pari-mutuel barrel racing” ruling.  
“Each of these yet-to-be-adjudicated spurious lawsuits has been cleverly designed to decimate Florida’s horse racing industry by supporting the premise of phony events that have clearly now been ruled as illegal,” said Kent Stirling, Executive Director of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA), a statutory statewide organization of Florida Thoroughbred owners and trainers that joined with the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners Association (FTBOA) in supporting the FQHRA.
“We are confident that Gretna’s co-owners have no standing to appeal the May 6 ruling,” Stirling added.
But, as the “pari-mutuel barrel racing” case dragged on for nearly two years, yet-existing “Gretna hybrids” and offshoot regulatory schemes devised to capitalize on the “Gretna model” have emerged and remain throughout Florida at various pari-mutuels, and even at leased facilities—all with the intention of sidestepping legitimate, live horse racing.
“Horse racing creates over 104,000 documented annual jobs in Florida, and we, together with the Florida Thoroughbred horsemen and our many partners, including the National Barrel Horse Association, have weathered this spurious litigation to protect them,” said Dr. Fisch.  “For each Florida pari-mutuel permit that has been misused during these past few years, thousands of horse racing and breeding jobs and businesses that would have otherwise been created have never had a chance to materialize.  It is the horsemen’s hope that, going forward, these permits will be used as the people of Florida intended—to create the kind of positive economic impact that only legitimate horse racing can bring.”
While Gretna’s cardrooms continued to operate, wagering on Gretna’s “pari-mutuel barrel racing” was recorded as low as $24 per day and contests there were often canceled due to lack of interest.  Just several months after the initial license was awarded with which “pari-mutuel barrel racing” was conducted, Gadsden County, in which the City of Gretna is located, approved the holding of a referendum to install slot machines at the Gretna Racing facility.

Gulfstream Park’s unusual GPTARP slots petition has Florida horsemen wary, Daily Racing Form’s Matt Hegarty Reports

Daily Racing Form Reports on Florida Thoroughbred Horse Racing

An unusual regulatory petition is stirring confusion among Florida horsemen and breeders who do not know whether the request to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering  indicates an attempt by GPTARP, as it is known, to conduct an end-run around legal requirements for a binding agreement with the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA).

“GPTARP,” the acronym for “Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred Aftercare Retirement Program,” is the new name for Gulfstream’s decades-old Quarter Horse permit, which was converted this past February 2013 into a Thoroughbred permit.

Last year, “GPTARP,” a non-profit entity, also sought to be declared as the lowest pari-mutuel revenue generator for a certain time period, so as to secure a “Summer Jai Alai” permit that would then, in turn, allow it to re-apply for another Quarter Horse permit.  The State of Florida turned down the request,  which was based on a phony “race” staged on April 8, 2012, featuring two Gretna “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing” women dressed up as jockeys and mounted on aged horses of questionable breeding that were bedecked in Western-style saddles.  The horses, one of which had been entered the same day as the “race,” were started at the drop of a flag.  Shockingly, wagering was offered on the event, which had not even been sanctioned by the American Quarter Horse Association as being a legitimate Quarter Horse race.  To round out GPTARP’s “meet,” a Thoroughbred race at Gulfstream on December 31, 2011 had been run under the GPTARP permit (likely unbeknownst to the entries’ connections).  It is predicated on these two “races” that GPTARP’s 2,000 slot machines would be installed, if allowed.

Also a remaining question is whether the GPTARP permit is domiciled in Miami-Dade or Broward.  The case is mired in administrative litigation.  Certainly, the actual location of GPTARP’s address given in the March 7, 2013 petition is troubling, with its “corporate offices” located on or off Gulfstream’s property, depending upon the source consulted.  According to the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser, the address does not exist.

But Tim Ritvo, general manager of Gulfstream Park, said horsemen have no reason to fear the plans of GPTARP.  He said that under a contract the track reached with horsemen earlier this year “they are guaranteed a share of any revenue from slot machines if we exercise the permit.” The contract runs for at least 25 years, Ritvo said.

So why is GPTARP seeking clarification of the statute regarding the requirement to have an agreement with horsemen and breeders?

Matt Hegarty of the Daily Racing Form reports here: 

Gretna Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing Ruling–National News Coverage This Week

Gretna Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing

May 8, 2013

In a story Monday about a ruling involving the facility running barrel races in Gretna, the News Service incorrectly said, based on information from the source, that the parent company of Gretna Racing would appeal a DOAH ruling saying its license was invalid. Neither Gretna Racing, nor its parent company PCI Gaming, was actually a party to the case, and thus has no apparent standing to appeal.  An intervenor in the case is the Florida Quarter Horse Track Association, which shares leadership with Gretna, and of which Gretna Racing is a member. The actual party which lost was the state Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.


Other media reports on the ruling follow . . .

Daily Racing Form:  Florida judge rejects track license

A Florida administrative law judge has struck down a decision by the state’s parimutuel regulator to award a license to a north Florida track that offers betting on barrel racing.


Miami Herald (Associated Press):  Panhandle barrel racing track loses legal fight

An administrative judge has ruled that state regulators ignored the law when they allowed a Panhandle horse track to use barrel racing as way to bring gambling to a small town near the state capital.


Palm Beach Post:  Administrative judge nixes barrel racing licenses

The state of Florida erred when it licensed barrel racing at two North Florida racetracks, an administrative law judge ruled today.


Sunshine State News:  Judge Pulls the Reins In on Florida Barrel-Race Gambling

An administrative court judge ruled Monday that a state agency exceeded its authority two years ago when it gave gambling licenses to two North Florida barrel horse racing tracks.


Blood Horse:  Judge Rules Barrel Racing in Violation of Law

An administrative judge has ruled that state regulators ignored the law when they allowed a Panhandle horse track to use barrel racing as way to bring gambling to a small town near the state capital.


The News Service of Florida via Florida Baptist Witness:  Judge rules Gretna barrel racing license violated state law

Horse barrel racing shouldn’t have been approved by a state agency for wagering in Florida, an administrative law judge ruled May 6.


WTVT and WOFL FOX-TV:  Panhandle barrel racing track loses legal fight

An administrative judge is ruling that the state was wrong to let a Panhandle track conduct barrel racing.  Judge Rules Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing in Violation of Law

The ruling follows months of taxpayer-funded litigation in defense by of pari-mutuel barrel racing, for which there is no legislative authorization.


WFSU:  Florida Judge Strikes Down Gretna Barrel Racing

A Judge in Tallahassee has ruled that Florida can’t allow a certain type of horse racing. The ruling against what’s called “pari-mutuel barrel racing” came after 16 months of hearings.


Blog:  Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing, We Hardly Knew Ye

An administrative law judge (ALJ) in Florida has issued a final ruling that has determined the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering (DPMW) in Florida improperly issued a license for race dates to Gretna Entertainment for barrel racing.


U.S. Trotting/Standardbred Canada:  Ruling Against Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing

After 16 long months of hearings and legal challenges, an administrative law judge in Tallahassee has ruled that the State of Florida cannot allow the conduct of pari-mutuel barrel racing under current law.


State Policy Allowing “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing” Struck Down by Florida Administrative Law Judge

Statement from United Florida Horsemen on the “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing” Ruling Issued on May 6, 2013:


After 16 long months of hearings and legal challenges, an administrative law judge in Tallahassee has ruled that the State of Florida cannot allow the conduct of “pari-mutuel barrel racing” under current law.

The ruling follows months of taxpayer-funded litigation in vehement defense by the State of a new gambling product that was never legislated, never received a regulatory hearing or any public input.

“The State of Florida should be pleased with this ruling,” said Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association President Dr. Steve Fisch.  “It is well-written and consistent with the law.  This ruling will lend confidence to both Florida Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred breeders and owners that Florida is a legally safe and prosperous state in which to race and breed a superior horse.”

“The fact is, the majority of the barrel horse industry was against pari-mutuel barrel racing, since the ‘Gretna Model’ that was used did not provide the economic stimulus that was promised to their industry.  The leadership at National Barrel Horse Association seems to be pleased with the ruling.  Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds alike can now race and breed without the fear that one of Florida’s major economic engines that produces thousands of the nation’s best race horses and provides tens of thousands of jobs would otherwise have been reduced to a farce that would only have required as few as 10 to 12 horses at a day’s performance, producing virtually no additional net jobs.

“The Florida Quarter Horse industry has produced multiple world champion racing Quarter Horses and four winners of the $2.4 million All-American Futurity.  The growth of both Florida’s Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred industries industry has been severely stymied by these questionable activities over the past few years.  But now, with this ruling, the thousands of owners and breeders of Florida race horses can get on with their business of producing jobs and green space for Floridians.

“As for Florida’s professional racing industry horsemen who have fought this battle, we have essentially paid the litigation bill at both ends.  And, we have endured the irony of knowing the very same owners of that new gambling product were actually litigating on behalf of the State of Florida against us.

“But this trial has been about far more than serving justice for an outright hijack of Florida’s legislative and regulatory process by a few special interests.

“Our fight has been about protecting the Florida horse racing industry’s $2.2 billion annual contribution to Florida’s economy that brings solid business, tourism and jobs to our state, as well as national and international prestige in the finest international horse racing communities.

“Our industry creates over 104,000 documented annual jobs in Florida, and we have weathered this spurious litigation to protect them.  Literally, as the “Gretna Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing” model and its proliferating hybrids are substituted for legitimate horse racing by pari-mutuel permitholders as an end-run around Florida’s statutory requirements for slot machines and card rooms, thousands of horse racing and breeding jobs and businesses that would have otherwise been created have never had a chance to materialize.

“Thus, our battle has been about ensuring that generations of people, families and businesses that have built their livelihoods on horse racing can continue to invest and grow in Florida.

“It also has been about protecting the wagering public by ensuring the integrity of our product through the careful oversight of our independent horsemen’s associations.

“As this audacious case has dragged on, our policymakers have come to realize what we horsemen knew all along—that Gretna Racing LLC’s “pari-mutuel barrel racing” was simply the pilot project to bypass state and federal laws that protect and ensure integrity in the wagering and racing product throughout America.   But by virtually eliminating the need for horses, independent horsemen and legitimate racing, the “Gretna Model” creates nothing but an economic black hole.

“Indeed, those who otherwise would have invested in Florida horse racing and breeding have watched in in amazement as our industry stood under attack—all because of clever lawyering and loopholes that have now run amok.

“As lawful, independent and statutory horsemen’s organizations that have historically functioned as partners with Florida’s pari-mutuel permitholders to produce hundreds of millions in revenue and economic impact, our members hope to once again regard Florida as a permanent home, and that we prosper together in growing our economy as was the intent of awarding pari-mutuel permits to begin with.

“Simply, Florida’s economy and gambling landscape benefits exponentially with legitimate racing, but becomes a special interest vortex without it.

“On behalf of our owners, trainers and countless tireless workers who make Florida horse racing successful on both the national and international level, we are committed to ensuring our sport stays legitimate, so it can be enjoyed by generations to come.

“Remember, as Winston Churchill once said, ‘There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.’”


Florida Horse Racing, Breeding an Economic Mega-Engine–Here’s Proof–WATCH LIVE

Florida Thoroughbred Horse Sales Nearly 50% over 2012; Watch the Ocala Breeders’ Sale Webcast Live!

Those who were unaware that Florida’s horse racing and breeding industry is a great investment may be stunned to learn prices for Ocala Thoroughbred horses are skyrocketing this week by nearly 50 percent over 2012.

Michael Compton of the Blood Horse, an international Thoroughbred breeding publication, reports that yesterday, the first day of the sale, 189 horses brought a first-day spring sale record total of $11,372,500, compared with 186 horses selling for $7,533,000 at last year’s opening session. The $60,172 session average, also a record, soared 48.6 percent from last year’s first day average of $40,500.  The $37,000 median price rose 48 percent, compared with $25,000 a year ago.

A filly by Limehouse (Hip No. 292), brought $320,000 from Alex and JoAnn Lieblong to top yesterday’s opening session.

“This serious distraction of ‘pari-mutuel barrel racing,’ its hybrids and related spurious lawsuits over the constitutionality of independent horsemen’s associations have the real potential of scaring away these types of investors in Florida’s horse racing industry,” said Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Executive Director Kent Stirling.  “Our members need to feel confident that their investment in Florida is protected and fostered.”