April 23, 2014
Kent Stirling, FHBPA Executive Director
Florida Legislature May Not Act, However
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 the week of April 7, 2014 and includes the approval and endorsement of the following professional associations and organizations:
- Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA)
- Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association
- Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association
- Florida Quarter Horse Breeders’ and Owners’ Association
- American Quarter Horse Association
- Jockey Club
“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.