The United Florida Horsemen, which comprises nearly 450,000 Florida and national horsemen, including the National Barrel Horse Association and the American Quarter Horse Association, issued the following statement on today’s December 1, 2011 opening of “pari-mutuel barrel racing” at Gretna Racing, LLC:
“It is time for the court system to finally put a stop to the shenanigans going on in Gretna. If there was any remaining doubt, the revelation yesterday that a Florida pari-mutuel regulator involved in approving the infamous ‘pari-mutuel barrel racing’ for Gretna Racing, LLC was planning to go to work for the very business he regulated and helped to get licensed should indicate to all of Florida’s public officials that it is time to pause and ask questions, rather than celebrate what others are describing as an ‘outright scam.’
It is a total embarrassment to the Sunshine State, with its ‘Government in the Sunshine,’ that the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has completely evaded any public scrutiny or accountability and gotten away with its actions. The Division has denied every request for a fair hearing on the issue and, to this day, refuses to be held accountable for its decisions. The Division’s lawyers are too busy creating legal roadblocks to the public’s effort to find out the truth behind the barrel racing sham.
The cruel irony of today’s ‘pari-mutuel barrel racing’ opening is that it is actually designed to replace jobs with slot machines, rather than grow our economy through the recognized benefits of legitimate horse racing. Because the City of Gretna’s economic development benchmark started near zero, its impoverished people don’t realize the economic development that could otherwise happen there with legitimate Quarter Horse racing and the thousands more jobs and prosperity it would bring, as opposed to the predatory slot machines that will now outnumber people, while concurrently killing Florida horse racing industry jobs throughout the State.
With such scrutiny being placed on ethics at all levels of government, it should send alarm bells throughout our regulatory, legislative and judicial system that the State of Florida is standing idly by while its taxpayer-funded pari-mutuel regulators are vigorously defending their unilateral sanction of ‘pari-mutuel barrel racing’ and sham horsemen’s organizations created by Gretna Racing and Hamilton Downs to shade their farcical activities.
It is time for the courts to step in and either stop, or call time-out on these rogue and illegal actions before it’s too late.”
For more information, contact:
- Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association: Kent Stirling, Executive Director (305) 628-2989 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and Florida Quarter Horse Breeders’ and Owners’ Association: Dr. Steve Fisch, DVM (850) 510-9650 or sfischDVM@avsequinehospital.com
- Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners Association: Dr. Phil Matthews, President at email@example.com
The United Florida Horsemen are:
- National and Florida Barrel Horse Association (24,000 members)
- American Quarter Horse Association (350,000 national members; 7,163 Florida members)
- Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (439 members)
- U.S. Trotting Association (25,000 members)
- Florida Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association (630 members)
- Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (1,300 members)
- National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (35,000 members)
- Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (5,000 members)