Florida Won't Appeal Barrel Racing Ruling

The issue has spurred lawsuits and appeals in Florida.

Horse racing interests said June 6 the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation will not appeal a court ruling that called into question pari-mutuel barrel racing at Gretna Racing and Hamilton Downs Jai Alai and Poker.

The ruling was issued May 6. The state had advised the two facilities they must conduct recognized horse racing in order to keep their card rooms.

Horsemen's groups had filed a lawsuit over pari-mutuel barrel racing based on the fact regulatory hearings weren't held and public comment wasn't taken.

"We salute (Gov. Rick Scott) and our pari-mutuel regulators for upholding the integrity of the law toward much-needed clarity in Florida's pari-mutuel statutes," Dr. Steve Fisch, president of the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, said in a release. "We have legions of prominent national horsemen and breeders who have been waiting for a positive outcome so they can set up shop in Florida.

"After our members drained their hard-earned savings to fight this seemingly endless battle over what was essentially a get-rich-quick scheme, we are hopeful the decision by regulators not to appeal assures Florida's horsemen that the state really does want to keep and grow its long-held title as a top international horse racing destination."

Gretna Racing filed notice of an appeal the week of June 2. The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said June 6 it believes Gretna Racing has no standing to appeal the May 6 decision.