Transfer of Funds Settles Florida Dispute

A transfer of about $650,000 in funds to Calder Race Course on June 12 has ended a dispute between Florida horsemen and Hialeah Park. The funds represent all but $57,000 -- the total of accounts with negative balances -- that remained in horsemen's accounts as of the May 22 closing of Hialeah.

Following an initial transfer of 75% of horsemen's funds upon the meet's end, Hialeah was unable to transfer the remainder for nearly three weeks, citing delinquencies in cash flow from simulcasting facilities. The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association had enjoined the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to intervene on behalf of its members.

"I feel like a weight has been lifted," Florida HBPA President Linda Mills said. Calder has agreed to allow horsemen to use 100% of their funds even though $57,000 hasn't been received. "Now we can get on with business," she said.

In a related matter, Hialeah has replenished the account from which drafts to horsemen were issued, which allows them to collect on checks that were returned because the funds weren't available. Hialeah vice president John Van Lindt blamed the problem on "a simple accounting error."