I am hopeful that the information below clarifies the FHBPA’s positions as to Florida-bred races in comparison to the Florida Sire Stakes.
Some points of interest:
- Historically and until the last few years, Calder managed the Florida Stallion Stakes. When moved to Gulfstream it was renamed the Florida Sire Stakes. At Calder, the FSS was mainly funded through stallion, foal, yearling and two-year-old nomination fees. For twenty years or more, Kathy Standridge managed the program and collected and tracked nomination fees while working as the Calder President’s Executive Secretary. Purse money was NOT a key component to fund the FSS.
- Our purse contribution and Gulfstream’s contribution was initiated 2 to 3 years ago. This was done as an incentive to move the series to Gulfstream and to regenerate the program.
- The program was taken over by the FTBOA when Calder/Churchill showed disinterest and let it decline as part of Churchill’s plan to get out of racing.
- The FTBOA currently has the funds and wherewithal to fully finance the FSS program on its own. It is estimated that the nomination fees are between $300,000 and $500,000 which the FTBOA now collects and keeps. From Florida Statute and agreement through purse contract, Gulfstream sends the FTBOA at least $6,000,000 yearly from the horsemen’s purse account.
- The FSS is NOT an Open Florida Bred race or series. They are highly restricted races that ONLY the Florida Bred horses that qualify and are nominated can participate. In round numbers, according to court documents, approximately only 600 of the 2,000 Florida foals are eligible to run. Thus, two-thirds of the registered Florida-breds are ineligible to participate. A small segment of the Florida Breeders and Florida-bred racing participants benefit from this program with most written out. If the Stallion is not nominated with fees paid, the foal is disqualified from participation even though it is a Florida-bred.
- A great majority of the money that the FTBOA returns to our purses at Gulfstream is tied into and restricted to the FSS and nominees. Very little of the funds they send back to purses is used for non-FSS eligible Florida-breds running in South Florida.
- Since taking over the FSS, the FTBOA now uses a very small portion of its money for open Florida-bred races.
Recently, a high-ranking FTBOA Director stated openly in front of several FHBPA Directors that the FTBOA has no interest in our FHBPA/Gulfstream Summer Stakes Series that supports Open Florida Bred races.
The FHBPA position is clear. We support Open Florida Bred races. This is evident in the Summer Series that was created this year and earmarked over a million dollars to Open Florida Bred and enhanced stakes races. The FHBPA also used $300,000 from purses to support and fund Open Florida Bred races in the 2017 Sunshine Millions which the FTBOA did not support.
In closing, the FSS series is the FTBOA’s program and theirs to manage and fund.
The FHBPA embraces the use of purse money that is inclusive and allows all Florida-breds to participate. Using purse money that benefits a narrow group while writing out the majority that actually generated the purse money, is not proper stewardship of our purses.
As always, please contact us with comments, suggestions or questions. The FHBPA has an open door policy – no appointment is needed and all horsemen are welcome.
All the best,