An unusual regulatory petition is stirring confusion among Florida horsemen and breeders who do not know whether the request to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering indicates an attempt by GPTARP, as it is known, to conduct an end-run around legal requirements for a binding agreement with the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA).
“GPTARP,” the acronym for “Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred Aftercare Retirement Program,” is the new name for Gulfstream’s decades-old Quarter Horse permit, which was converted this past February 2013 into a Thoroughbred permit.
Last year, “GPTARP,” a non-profit entity, also sought to be declared as the lowest pari-mutuel revenue generator for a certain time period, so as to secure a “Summer Jai Alai” permit that would then, in turn, allow it to re-apply for another Quarter Horse permit. The State of Florida turned down the request, which was based on a phony “race” staged on April 8, 2012, featuring two Gretna “Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing” women dressed up as jockeys and mounted on aged horses of questionable breeding that were bedecked in Western-style saddles. The horses, one of which had been entered the same day as the “race,” were started at the drop of a flag. Shockingly, wagering was offered on the event, which had not even been sanctioned by the American Quarter Horse Association as being a legitimate Quarter Horse race. To round out GPTARP’s “meet,” a Thoroughbred race at Gulfstream on December 31, 2011 had been run under the GPTARP permit (likely unbeknownst to the entries’ connections). It is predicated on these two “races” that GPTARP’s 2,000 slot machines would be installed, if allowed.
Also a remaining question is whether the GPTARP permit is domiciled in Miami-Dade or Broward. The case is mired in administrative litigation. Certainly, the actual location of GPTARP’s address given in the March 7, 2013 petition is troubling, with its “corporate offices” located on or off Gulfstream’s property, depending upon the source consulted. According to the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser, the address does not exist.
But Tim Ritvo, general manager of Gulfstream Park, said horsemen have no reason to fear the plans of GPTARP. He said that under a contract the track reached with horsemen earlier this year “they are guaranteed a share of any revenue from slot machines if we exercise the permit.” The contract runs for at least 25 years, Ritvo said.
So why is GPTARP seeking clarification of the statute regarding the requirement to have an agreement with horsemen and breeders?
Matt Hegarty of the Daily Racing Form reports here: http://www.drf.com/news/gulfstream-park-slots-petition-has-horsemen-wary