Groups Seeking to Halt Florida 'Race' Meet

Horsemen concerned about implications for all pari-mutuel licenses in the state.

Two Florida Quarter Horse Associations late in the day Nov. 30 asked a state court in Tallahassee to issue an emergency motion for a stay that would prevent the scheduled Dec. 1 start of pari-mutuel barrel racing at Gretna Racing.

The meet has its first “race” set for 1 p.m. EST at its facility in Gretna, Fla., about 25 miles west of Tallahassee.

Gretna Racing is holding the meet under a Quarter Horse license issued Oct. 19 by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. It would be the first pari-mutuel barrel racing in Florida and probably in the country.

The Nov. 30 emergency motion was filed in the First District Court of Appeal by the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and by the Florida Quarter Horse Breeders and Owners Association. As of early morning Dec. 1, there was no record of a response by the court.

The motion asks the court to prevent the Florida DPMW, its parent Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and Gretna Racing “from taking any actions related to the conduct of pari-mutuel wagering activities by Gretna Racing” until the an administrative challenge by the Quarter Horse associations is reviewed by the Florida Division of Administrative hearings.

The division is scheduled to hold a hearing Dec. 13-14 on the Quarter Horse associations’ challenge of the legality of Gretna Racing’s license.

In their Nov. 30 emergency motion, the two associations maintain that the Florida DPMW issued a racing license to Gretna Racing “outside the established regulatory timeframe,” and that the start of racing at Gretna would “establish a precedent for the significant and haphazard expansion of gambling” in Florida.

In a separate action filed Nov. 30 in the First District Court of Appeal, the two Quarter Horse associations said they intend to file a lawsuit that will appeal the Florida DPMW’s Nov. 18 dismissal of their request for the agency to reverse its decision to issue a racing license to Gretna Racing.