State Questions Gulfstream-Pompano Simulcasts

A week-old agreement between Gulfstream Park and neighboring Standardbred track Pompano Park to exchange simulcast signals may be imperiled by the opinion of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering that such an agreement violates state law.

In a March 26 letter to Gulfstream chairman of the board Doug Donn, division director Dave Roberts wrote: "This activity (is) contrary to Florida law and your track has exposed itself to potential disciplinary action by the state."

That action, Roberts said, includes the possibility of fines--as much as $1,000 for each race the tracks exchanged--or revocation of Gulfstream's operating license and pari-mutuel permit.

Gulfstream attorney David Romanik laid out what he considered to be the track's legal authority for the exchanges in a conference call on the day after the letter was received, and he indicated the division seemed willing to consider Gulfstream's position.

"I'm not saying they will permit it, but the whole area is quite confusing," Romanik said.

Romanik predicted the issue is likely to be settled only by a court interpretation of the statute. "This is a test case to see if we should have all of these restrictions on what we can do," he said.

Gulfstream began taking the feed from Pompano Park March 25, and on an average day accepts wagering on four to five other harness tracks. Pompano Park officials called the exchange a resounding success; the track took in $200,000 in wagers on Gulfstream on just the first day.