Serving Florida's Thoroughbred Horse Racing Owners, Trainers and Horsemen

Executive Director’s Message

Purse Increases Continue at GP

The FHBPA and Gulfstream Park have been working together on purse increases for the past year with a particular focus on raising purses during the Non-Championship Meet for those who race here year-round. Purses were raised during the Non-Championship Meet last year which continued from Summer 2017 through the 2017 Gulfstream Park West Meet. Those NCM purses increased again at the start of the 2018 Non-Championship Meet and, beginning this Saturday May 12, we are raising the minimum purse awards to $750 and $500 depending on the class of the race.

Gulfstream Park put out the following press release today:

by Press Release | 05.10.2018 | 12:27pm

Gulfstream Park announced today it would begin its second phase of purse incentives Saturday, May 12 as its Spring/Summer Meet achieves record growth.

Gulfstream’s average handle through the first month of the meet is $6.896 million, up 35 percent from last year when the average daily handle was $5.109 million.

Despite racing four fewer days through Wednesday, total handle is $110 million, up $8 million over last spring.

Gulfstream started the meet with an increase in purses from 10 percent over last year. Beginning Saturday, the second phase of Gulfstream’s purse incentives will kick in.

The minimum payment for horses finishing fifth to last in allowance races, starter races of $35,000 or more, maiden special weight races and claimer and maiden claiming races of $25,000 or more will be $750. Minimum from fifth to last for any categories before the $25,000 threshold will be $500.

“In a very short time our spring and summer racing season has become one of the country’s most popular meets with horsemen, and our handle clearly reflects it’s a favorite as well with bettors,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “So many horsemen from around the country have embraced our vision of a year-round Thoroughbred program in Florida, and with breeders, owners and the FHBPA putting so much into Florida racing, we felt this program would create more opportunities for horsemen and an increase in field size for bettors.”

 

GENERAL MEETING / NOMINATING DINNER DECEMBER 10

The FHBPA will hold its annual Nominating Meeting/General Membership and Awards Dinner on December 10, 2017 beginning at 5:30 pm at the Adena Grill restaurant at The Village at Gulfstream Park adjacent to the track. Nominations for the 2018 FHBPA Board of Directors election will be taken there for five Directors’ whose three-year terms are expiring March of 2018.

The five, three-year Director positions to be elected include two trainer-directors, two owner-only directors and one open director that is the next highest vote-getter either owner or trainer. Two Alternate Directors will also be elected, one each from the trainer and owner categories, to serve for one year.

A nomination from the floor during this Nominating Meeting will be accepted if it receives the endorsement of not less than three (3) members present at the Meeting, including the nominator and two (2) seconds, or is accompanied by a petition signed by no fewer than seventy five (75) members of the Association. See the FHBPA Bylaws under About the FHBPA on our website, fhbpa.org, for details and for qualifications to serve as a Director of the FHBPA.

The Meeting and Dinner is open to owner and trainer members of the FHBPA and their spouse/guest.  Please contact Iris at the FHBPA office at Gulfstream at 954-457-3516 for further information.

 

HIALEAH FARCE

FHBPA President Bill White, Vice President Chester Bishop and I visited Hialeah Park last week to witness the “quarter horse racing” that is being run there.

The facility itself appears to be in fine shape, although walking through the grandstand is like visiting a closed museum. A very nice slots facility and simulcast center, although not well attended on that Thursday afternoon, are housed inside the north end of the grandstand.

Then there is the so-called racing. Twenty doubleheaders of eight, two-horse “races” are being put on in front of a handful of people in the grandstand, with nearly zero handle. This charade is being done by Hialeah ostensibly in an attempt to meet the statutory requirements to maintain its gaming permit.

Hialeah management has thrown history and any sense of pride out the window and is shamelessly following the Gretna/Oxford/Hamilton Downs model. They have ‘contracted’ with a bogus horsemen’s group and are presenting bogus racing in an apparent effort to circumvent the spirit, if not the letter of the law, knowing that the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering is likely to do nothing about it.

There is no state racing commission in Florida whose purpose would include taking action in the best interest of racing. Instead, we have a state agency that, as it did when Calder bulldozed its grandstand, turns a blind eye to these self-decoupling activities.

The FHBPA has not, and cannot sit idly by as this horse racing industry-crushing activity continues.

 

Glen Berman, FHBPA Executive Director

 

 

DPMW Likely To Toss All Pending Serum Positives

The Division of Pari-Mutuel Racing entered a Final Order in an alleged serum positive case on March 24, 2017 which resulted in a finding that the Division had failed to prove its allegations as a result of improper procedures in handling serum samples in the test barn. The improper procedures involved the opening of the samples in the test barn at the end of the day after the trainers or trainers’ representatives had witnessed the samples being sealed earlier. The Division also filed an emergency rule on blood sampling, effective on March 24, 2017, which is intended to correct the improper test barn procedures for the handling of serum samples.

This Final Order should result in the dismissal of all pending positive serum tests in Florida which may number in the hundreds. Those that already agreed to a disposition with the Division on their cases may or may not have any recourse. This decision and rule change was the result of one of our trainer members stepping up and being a test case, and the fine legal work of attorney Brad Beilly who, together, won their case.

Another pending case being handled by Mr. Beilly, which the FHBPA testified at, involves the way the Division handles split samples. The improper procedure alleged in that case involves the Division sending a portion of the already tested single sample upon request as the “split sample” to another lab instead of having the samples split when drawn and sending the separate sample as a split sample to another lab for verification. This has led the Division to set a first development workshop toward rule change on April 11, 2017 in Tallahassee in advance of a final decision in that case.

If you have any questions about these matters, please contact Glen at the FHBPA office.

FHBPA ELECTION PROCESS AND SUMMARY

Despite a very successful and fairly seamlessly run 2017 election for FHBPA Board of Directors, which just concluded, there has been some commentary on a public forum bemoaning the notice of, and participation in, this election.

The FHBPA has made significant changes in its voting process from past practices. What formerly consisted of mailing, receiving, opening and counting of ballots by FHBPA employees at the FHBPA trailer, was this year handled exclusively by a professional voting service.

Under the direction of Director Daryl Clark, a Florida-based owner and breeder, and the FHBPA Election Committee, the following actions were taken for the 2017 election:

  • 5100 ballots were mailed to owners and trainers printed both in English and Spanish (1st time)
  • Members were given the choice of mailing their completed ballots in postage paid envelopes provided as in the past but also had the option of voting online (1st time)
  • Election information was also forwarded by email to the more than 1,000 members for whom we have email addresses (1st time)
  • Notices of the election were posted on our website, daily on the overnights, at the bookkeepers office, on Facebook, on Twitter and in text blasts and weekly email blasts, among other ways
  • Our Nominating Meeting is a regular annual event as we have elections every year, and it is part of our General Membership Meeting. Five seats are open every year for 3-year terms on the 15 member board
  • Our Nominating Meeting was posted all of the above ways, was posted on an electric sign at the stable security gate and was advertised on the Paulick Report which also posted a story about our Nominating Meeting in advance of it. The release announcing the Nominating Meeting also appeared on the Blood Horse, Horse Racing Nation and the National HBPA website
  • The Nominating Meeting was open and free to all members with a buffet dinner at the Sport of Kings Theatre which has been the site of recent Eclipse Awards dinners.

There are always improvements that can be made and we will review this election process in preparation for next year’s election. The total ballots cast, however, was 16% higher than last year even though the membership number was down 15%.

We could have a long discussion about why more owners and trainers don’t step up and run for horsemen’s boards and why there isn’t a higher percentage of members that vote.

At least in our case, this year, I do not believe it was from a lack of thought, effort and/or notice.