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Fate of Florida's horse racing industry in Legislative Committees' hands
Tuesday, February 09, 2016 - from United Florida Horsemen

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Hallandale Beach, FL --- United Florida Horsemen officials will be on hand in Tallahassee Tuesday (Feb. 9) to represent racehorse owners, trainers and breeders at two legislative committees scheduled to take up gambling-related bills that could devastate Florida's horse racing industry by allowing "decoupling."

The Florida House of Representatives' Regulatory Affairs Committee meets today at 11:30 a.m. (EST), followed by the Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee which meets at 1:30 p.m.

To access meeting materials for each, click below:

To watch the hearings via live webcast, go to, or click here for the House video and here for the Senate video.

  • Links to House Bill Analysis here
  • Links to Senate Bill Analysis here and here.

Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse and Standardbred officials in attendance today include:

  • Bill White, President of Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (Thoroughbred owners and trainers)
  • Steve Fisch, Executive Director of the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (AQHA) and Florida Quarter Horse Breeders and Owners Association
  • Joe Pennacchio, President of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association

Horsemen expect legislators to consider a casino-driven proposal of a decoupled "purse pool" arrangement that would essentially create an artificial sheltered set-aside, rather than the current free market that lets states compete against one another for horse racing business -- meaning the best horses, owners, trainers, jockeys and drivers. The proposal would let casino-owned pari-mutuel permit holders -- not market forces -- dictate how Florida's horse racing investors and small businesses recoup their return, instead of through a dependable schedule of live racing days and market-driven competitive purses.

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