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Horsemen's Call to Action from FHBPA President Phil Combest–We Need Your Survey Responses!

September 12, 2013
Have you completed your Florida Horsemen’s Survey yet?
If you’ve ever wondered how to be involved in the future of Florida racing, that time is NOW!  Your help is urgently needed!
Copy this link to go directly to the survey:
OR visit to download a printable copy that you can mail to a private address
After you complete the survey, please send it to ALL the owners, trainers and breeders you know.  The DEADLINE is September 20!
Please be assured that responses are COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL and NO NAME is required!
Here’s why we need the information:   The Florida Legislature is currently “studying” the gaming and pari-mutuel industry, with the goal of overhauling the current laws and regulations.  A private company with strong casino affiliations was hired to do the study, which will be reviewed by the Legislature during the first of four (4) public meetings statewide beginning October 23 in Coconut Creek (Broward County).  Working together with our partner organizations, Florida’s Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Standardbred horsemen have united to take the extraordinary step of conducting our own study.
BUT . . . it won’t matter without your help!
As horsemen—owners, trainers and breeders—we know what we contribute to Florida’s economy and we can’t afford to not take an active role in the future of our industry.  If you do business–any business–in Florida, that time is NOW.
TODAY, we need you to:

  1. Complete the survey online:  OR go to and print out and mail in to the confidential address given.


  1. Make plans to ATTEND the OCTOBER 23 Senate Gaming Committee hearing in Coconut Creek at Broward College (and any others you can make).

A Big THANK YOU to those who have already completed the survey!
Blood Horse news coverage of the horsemen’s initiative is below:
Florida Horsemen Hope Study Tells Racing’s Story
By Tom LaMarra, the Blood-Horse
Date Posted: 9/10/2013
Horsemen in Florida, concerned their voice may not be heard as the state examines gambling laws, are collaborating on an economic impact study.
The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association said it has joined the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, and Florida Quarter Horse Breeders’ and Owners’ Association to produce the study. Industry participants must complete a survey by Sept. 20.
“Kentucky’s horse industry reported (Sept. 6) that it produces a $3 billion annual economic impact,” Florida HBPA executive director Kent Stirling said. “For years, Florida has ranked right along with Kentucky among the top three states as economic drivers in the industry—there’s a reason Ocala is known as the ‘Horse Capital of the World,’ and South Florida is hailed as the road to the Kentucky Derby.”
The Florida HBPA said the groups want to “ensure that the impact of Florida’s horse racing industry professionals is well-represented as the Florida legislature conducts a first-ever comprehensive evaluation of pari-mutuel and gaming laws.”
The initial results of a study conducted by Spectrum Gaming, a consultant with close ties to the casino gambling industry, portray a pari-mutuel industry in decline with a strong reliance on card rooms and slot machines. There is, however, little information in the study regarding the broader economic impact of horse racing and breeding.
“The Thoroughbred sector is clearly the healthiest of the sectors but it, too, has sustained steep declines in live handle,” the Spectrum Gaming study says. “What’s keeping many of the other pari-mutuel facilities open is card room and slots revenue but eventually, if the downward trend continues, it is likely that even those revenues will not be enough to keep some Greyhound tracks and (jai-alai) frontons open.
“Many operators acknowledged to us that the prospect of possibly operating slot machines was enough for them to continue to stay in business and sustain significant losses. In (fiscal year) 2012, the pari-mutuel operations at the Greyhound tracks sustained operating losses of $35 million, jai alai $14 million and harness $2.4 million. Only the Thoroughbred tracks were able to realize an operating profit, $10.6 million, from their pari-mutuel operations.”