John Grady Jr. is stepping down as vice president and general manager of Tampa Bay Downs, but will remain associated with the track as a consultant. Grady was the overseer of significant improvements at the Florida racetrack, and a controversial figure during contract negotiations with horsemen.
Horsemen at Tampa Bay Downs gave their leaders a strong directive Friday morning to end a protracted contract dispute with track management. Members of the Tampa Bay Downs Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association vote 160-2 to accept a purses contract as proposed by racetrack management, according to John Grady, general manager of Tampa Bay Downs.
Rick Hiles, president of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, was denied access to Tampa Bay Downs' stable area Wednesday. Hiles was attempting to talk with horsemen about ways to end a prolonged purses contract dispute.
Dark clouds are gathering over Tampa Bay Downs. A purses contract with horsemen remains in dispute with negotiations deadlocked, Thursday's purses have been cut around 40%, and a legal battle over simulcasting is brewing.
A Circuit Court judge in Florida has ruled that Tampa Bay Downs has the right to determine which horsemen are allocated stalls, effectively upholding the track's denial of space to some TB Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association board members. Contending the stall denial was retribution over a contract dispute between horsemen and track management, Tampa Bay HBPA sought a temporary injunction forcing the track to reallocate stalls.
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