Tampa Bay Downs and the local Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association appear on course to open the 2002-03 racing season without the conflict that has plagued the Florida track in recent years.
In light of reportedly improved relations between Tampa Bay Downs horsemen and management, Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association affiliates at two West Virginia racetracks have decided to send their signals to the Oldsmar, Fla., racetrack.
In a statement released March 20 in response to an ongoing situation involving Tampa Bay Downs, National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association president John Roark said the relationship between horsemen and racetrack management must be based on "fairness, mutual respect, and a desire to work toward common goals."
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.
The Tampa Bay Downs Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association claims management at Tampa Bay Downs is in violation of its contract with horsemen.
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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