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Horsemen Concerned With Proposed Rules Published Today by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering

Florida Horse RacingThe Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering published proposed rules partially relating to horse racing today, June 30, 2015.  The proposed Rules appear to be revised from a similar set originally published two years ago, following the May 2013 rulings on “pari-mutuel barrel racing.”
To view the two sets of proposed Rules, click here and here.
“Florida’s professional horsemen are in the process of evaluating the proposed Rules and how they differ from the former set promulgated for an October 16, 2013 hearing,” said Bill White, President of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents over 6,000 Thoroughbred racehorse owners and trainers statewide.  “We certainly have some concerns with what we’ve initially evaluated.”
Upheld twice on appeal, the ruling in the “pari-mutuel barrel racing” litigation put an end to pari-mutuel barrel racing at both Gretna Racing LLC and Hamilton Downs, yet those two facilities received licenses from the State of Florida to conduct “flag drop racing,” which does not appear to be consistent with the proposed rules which contain language requiring races other than harness and steeplechase races to start from a box or gate.
Since then, other Florida pari-mutuel permitholders have conducted non-traditional horse-related activities that remain unsanctioned by the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association—the Florida Chapter of the American Quarter Horse Association.
At this time, the only legitimate American Quarter Horse Racing taking place in the State of Florida has been at Hialeah Park and Ocala Breeders’ Sales.