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Florida Barrel Racing Issue Resurfaces

Published: June 24, 2013 10:52 am ET

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The group United Florida Horsemen have issued a press release announcing that pari-mutuel regulators in the state have "rubber stamped" more "phony horse racing" at Gretna Racing in north Florida.

According to the release, the move comes less than two months after it was ruled that pari-mutuel barrel racing cannot take place.

“Shockingly, the State of Florida has responded to the court’s ruling on illegal activities --- not by protecting thousands of jobs created by our multi-billion dollar international horse racing and breeding industry, but by granting a license to an offender to hold more of these phony events,” Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA) Executive Director Kent Stirling was quoted in the release, which appears in its entirety below.

“Florida’s $2.2-billion horse racing industry creates 104,000 documented annual Florida jobs,” Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (FQHRA) President Dr. Steve Fisch said. “Governor Scott has committed to getting Floridians back to work by promoting Florida business as the cornerstone of his administration. Now, we need him to hold true to that vision by putting a stop to this outrageous sidestep of Florida law that's doing just the opposite by putting Florida horsemen and breeders out of work.”


Florida Pari-Mutuel Regulators Rubber-Stamped More Phony Horse Racing, Even Though Internet Cafes Just Outlawed, United Florida Horsemen Note

Just after Florida Governor Rick Scott enacted a ban on Internet Cafes in the wake of a scandal, State pari-mutuel regulators quietly approved yet another round of phony Florida gambling events purported to be horse racing at Gretna Racing, LLC (“Gretna”) in North Florida, despite a May 6, 2013, court ruling that these activities are illegal, the United Florida Horsemen noted.

Initially, it seemed as though the State of Florida would honour the judge’s scathing 85-page rebuke of Gretna’s phony horse racing activities. But that was not the case.

Instead, just days later after receiving threatening letters from Gretna’s ownership --- the very same lawyers who had litigated on their behalf --- the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering authorized Gretna to open once again for gambling on phony horse racing events, United Florida Horsemen explained.

“Shockingly, the State of Florida has responded to the court’s ruling on illegal activities --- not by protecting thousands of jobs created by our multi-billion dollar international horse racing and breeding industry, but by granting a license to an offender to hold more of these phony events,” said Kent Stirling, Executive Director of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA).

The FHBPA, an organization of Thoroughbred horsemen, joined the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA) in supporting the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (FQHRA), which prevailed in the case.

“Florida’s $2.2 billion dollar horse racing industry creates 104,000 documented annual Florida jobs,” explained FQHRA President Dr. Steve Fisch. “Governor Scott has committed to getting Floridians back to work by promoting Florida business as the cornerstone of his administration. Now, we need him to hold true to that vision by putting a stop to this outrageous sidestep of Florida law that's doing just the opposite by putting Florida horsemen and breeders out of work.”



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