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

Executive Director’s Message


A General Membership and Nominating Meeting Dinner will be held on Thursday, December 13, 2018 starting at 5:00pm at Ten Palms Restaurant on the 2nd Floor of Gulfstream Park.

All Florida licensed thoroughbred owners and trainers are invited to attend – please bring your licenses.

In addition to the General Membership Meeting, nominations will be taken for two expiring owner-only director positions, two expiring trainer director positions and one open director position (owner or trainer) on the FHBPA Board of Directors. These seats are for three year terms. Election ballots go out in January 2019 and are tabulated in March 2019.

Nominations will be taken from the floor made by three members, a nominator and two seconds. Please see the FHBPA Bylaws for more information about qualifications for directors and procedures for nomination and election. Bylaws can be found on the bottom right corner of the About the FHBPA page of this website.

For further information please visit the FHBPA trailer in the North Parking lot of Gulfstream Park or call 954-457-3516.

Vote YES on Amendment 3

The FHBPA urges all Florida horsemen to vote Yes on Amendment 3 to the Florida Constitution which is on the November ballot.

Amendment 3 prohibits any future expansion of casino gaming in the State by legislators and reserves any such expansion to a vote of the people of the entire State.

A Yes vote on Amendment 3 will help eliminate the threat of thoroughbred decoupling in Florida.

Legislative gaming bills supported by the casinos in recent years have included decoupling of thoroughbreds which minimizes or eliminates racing opportunities.

Don’t be fooled by gaming officials in horsemen’s clothing who claim Amendment 3 is bad for the Florida thoroughbred industry – it is not.

Amendment 3 has nothing to do with education funding – again, don’t be fooled.

Amendment 3 protects the status quo and takes the expansion of casino gaming out of the hands of lobbyists and legislators in Tallahassee. This is very good for South Florida horsemen.



Florida Adopts ARCI Medication Penalties

The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering in Florida has now adopted the December 2014 version of the ARCI Recommended Penalties for medication violations which originally was to have started by statute in January of 2016. The new rule 61D-6.011 went into effect on September 5, 2018 and will apply to all positive tests beginning on that date. The recommended penalties which are found on pages 27-30 of the December 2014 ARCI Guidelines range from written warnings to suspensions and purse redistributions depending on the category of the drug and the alleged offender’s history.

See the rules here under View Rule,,  or stop by the FHBPA trailer at Gulfstream for a copy.


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.”



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,, 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.


May 10, 2019


Thoroughbred racing appears to have dodged the decoupling bullet for another year in the State legislature. The once yearly session ended on May 4 with no gaming bill being filed. But there was one in the hopper that apparently included total decoupling of the requirement of facilities to offer a minimum of pari-mutuel days at pari-mutuel facilities that offer gaming. The bill apparently also included no purse pool for thoroughbreds to make up for expected losses to thoroughbred purses. Newly elected Governor Ron DeSantis called a meeting of all pari-mutuel stakeholders in the state on April 26 to discuss the pending bill that was presented to him. After listening to the positions of most in attendance, including the FHBPA, the Governor stated that he would have been derelict in his duty not to hear from this group before moving forward and that it was clear that more work on the bill needed to be done. Also purportedly included in the bill was sports betting at all pari-mutuels and sports arenas with the Seminole casino acting as the hub. There was no indication that horsemen would have received anything from sports betting other what we might receive contractually with our tracks. Needless today these issues remain on our radar for the coming year.

Calder is not waiting for legislative relief to decouple from horse racing as it has received authority from the state to build a jai alai fronton and use that pari-mutuel activity as its basis to continue its gaming operation. The jai alai fronton appeared to be completely built in May and an opening may occur this spring or summer. Calder/Churchill Downs, Inc. constructed the fronton in the face of lawsuits brought by the FHBPA regarding the issuance of the jai alai permit and also the destruction of the former grandstand pari-mutuel facility which are still pending. The jai alai lawsuit questions the legitimacy and propriety of the state’s actions and as of early May the judge in that case allowed Ocala Breeders Sales Company and the breeders’ association to intervene in the FHBPA case over the objection of Calder. The FHBPA and Gulfstream have contracts with Calder to have thoroughbred racing there through 2020.


The FHBPA holds annual elections for five of its fifteen director positions which have three-year terms. In this year’s election owners Tom Cannell and Herb Oster along with trainer David Fawkes won re-election to three year terms. Trainer Carlo Vaccarezza, who had been a one-year alternate last year, also was elected to a three-year term. New to the FHBPA Board is trainer Patrick Biancone who was elected to a three-year term. One-year alternate positions went to trainer Marcus Vitale and nineteen-year-old owner Nicholas Vaccarezza.

Attorney owner Stephen Screnci was unanimously re-elected by the Board to be President of the FHBPA for 2019-2020. Screnci also serves as Regional Vice President of the National HBPA. The Executive Board for this year consists of owner Chester Bishop as 1st Vice President, trainer Joe Orseno as 2nd Vice President, owner Herb Oster as 3rd Vice President, owner Tom Cannell as Treasurer and trainer Chuck Simon as Secretary.