Gulfstream Park starting gate

Gulfstream Park starting gate

Coglianese Photos

Quarter Horse Race Run at Gulfstream Park

Florida HBPA worried revenue could be diverted fromi Thoroughbred industry.

Gulfstream Park held a Quarter Horse race April 8, following the last race of its 2011-2012 Thoroughbred meet.

But Gulfstream president and general manager Tim Ritvo told The Blood-Horse that the track is not planning to use that race as a prelude to a full Quarter Horse meet.

Ritvo reiterated a previous statement that Gulfstream ran the race to retain a state-authorized Quarter Horse permit that gives it the option of applying for a license for a second casino. Gulfstream’s racing building has two casino rooms, with a total of 850 slot machines.

He said revenues from a second casino would be used to help Thoroughbred racing and would not go to any horsemen’s group other than the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

But the FHBPA feels that Gulfstream’s Quarter Horse race is a “dangerous precedent,” said its president Phil Combest.

He said the Florida HBPA is concerned that a start of Quarter Horse racing could lead to a continuation of that racing and perhaps lead to Gulfstream revenues being diverted from the Thoroughbred industry.

“We are doing this solely to preserve our (Quarter Horse) permit,” Ritvo said.

“Based on discussion with several attorneys we are under the assumption that if we keep our permit active we could convert it to a not-for-profit Thoroughbred permit and use it to open a second casino that would be somewhere in Miami-Dade County,” he said.

The undeveloped southern portion of Gulfstream’s property is in Aventura, in Miami-Dade County.  Most of Gulfstream’s property, including its racing/casino building, is in Hallandale Beach in Broward County.

Combest said the Florida HBPA does not agree with Gulfstream’s view that it needed to run the Quarter Horse race to keep that permit.

He said he feels that holding the race “was a mockery at the end of what has been Gulfstream’s most successful Thoroughbred racing season.”