By Mike Henry-- The desires of Tampa Bay bettors and a majority of horsemen are being undermined by the actions of a few local horsemen and those from other states.
Horsemen have taken issue with comments made by Tampa Bay Downs general manager Peter Berube as to the role of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in purse reductions at the Florida racetrack.
General manager Peter Berube announced today that effective next Tuesday, Jan. 29, purses for races at Tampa Bay Downs will be reduced. The action is necessitated by the decision of seven tracks outside of Florida to deny Tampa Bay Downs access to their simulcast broadcast signals.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 19, the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has requested clarification on whether the Interstate Horseracing Act, which grants local horsemen's groups sanctions over outgoing signals, supercedes simulcasting contracts between racetracks.
Representatives from the Tampa Bay Downs Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association met with Tampa Bay president Peter Berube Dec. 4 in an effort to resolve a dispute over stalls that threatens the track's ability to receive out-of-state signals when the live meet begins Dec. 15.
A 15-day contract dispute at the start of Tampa Bay Downs' 93-day meet was blamed by track management for declines in attendance, on-track handle, and total handle. Despite the declines, the meet set a couple single-day handle records and saw growth in its interstate simulcasting handle.
Churchill Downs' president Alex Waldrop will oversee all company operations in Kentucky. Former Ellis Park president Jeffery Smith will take over the transition of Arlington International Racecourse into the Churchill family, but remains head of Hoosier Park.
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