Legislators Are Urged To Support Proven Job Power, Economic Benefits of Legitimate Florida Quarter Horse Racing
Florida Senate Committee on Agriculture members were surprised to learn during a presentation today, January 30, 2012, that Florida’s horse industry is a $5.1 billion economic driver that creates 104,700 total statewide jobs per year. In fact, for each horse, seven jobs are created, according to the American Horse Council. To view the presentation (begins on Page 86) click here.
Florida Horse Park officials, who gave this morning’s presentation, described Marion County as the “Horse Capital of the World.” They outlined the extraordinary buying power of the people who come to Florida from all over the world to watch, ride and care for horses of all kinds. Purchase of hotel rooms and lodging, food, gasoline, clothing, feed, veterinary services, horseshoeing and more are some of the reasons for the dramatic economic benefit of Florida’s horse industry.
Even the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association CEO Carol Dover was on hand to discuss the importance of the horse industry to her organization’s members. She explained that the sheer strength of Florida’s Thoroughbred racing industry provides the very infrastructure to encourage and warrant hoteliers’ investment.
Committee Chairman Gary Siplin introduced the presentation by explaining that Florida’s horse industry is one of the strongest industries in the state and has national impact.
Senator Alan Hays, himself an experienced horseman, said: “We need to realize ancillary businesses that go with (the Florida horse) industry and the ripple effect of those dollars as they go through the state. This is a hidden gem and we need to do everything we can to magnify the effect.”
If horses really do create jobs, the Legislature should note the success of legitimate Quarter Horse racing at Hialeah Park, which is out-earning “pari-mutuel barrel racing” by 99.1%.
As evidence, nearly 1,000 accredited Quarter Horses are stabled at Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association-sanctioned Hialeah Park. But Gretna’s entire “barrel racing” meet only requires 36 horses total—thus killing the positive impact that would otherwise be generated if Gretna Racing were to have used its permit for legitimate Quarter Horse racing instead of “barrel racing.”
Gretna’s spurious use of its Quarter Horse permit to operate “pari-mutuel barrel racing” has deliberately cut the number of horses needed at its facility by over 96 percent.
Unfortunately, because no clear definition of “horse racing” yet exists, gambling regulators are free to consider what will further degrade the value of Florida’s otherwise-successful Quarter Horse racing and breeding industry by entertaining plans for six (6) Quarter Horse licenses likely designed to cut live racing through spurious schemes like “barrel racing” that dramatically reduce the number of horses needed to create the very jobs and economic development acknowledged by our Senators today.
It’s a fact: Gretna and its copycat schemes are slaughtering, not growing Florida horse jobs and economic impact that would otherwise come with Florida’s legitimate racing and breeding industries.
“Florida’s horse industry is not ‘dead’” explained Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Executive Director Kent Stirling. “We are confident our legislators understand what we bring to the table and will work to protect it. This means ensuring that clever lawyering and loopholes are not allowed to trump job creation and economic development.”
Does Florida really want the economic and job creating benefits of legitimate live horse racing to be replaced by slots, cardrooms, poker, “pari-mutuel barrel racing” . . . . or worse?
Legislators, we urge your awareness of this morning’s Senate Committee on Agriculture horse industry presentation and ask you to vote against any related pari-mutuel legislation that would serve to kill jobs and economic development of Florida’s horse racing and breeding industry.
For more information, contact:
- Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association: Kent Stirling, Executive Director (305) 628-2989 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and Florida Quarter Horse Breeders’ and Owners’ Association: Dr. Steve Fisch, DVM (850) 510-9650 or sfischDVM@avsequinehospital.com
The United Florida Horsemen are:
National and Florida Barrel Horse Association (24,000 members)
American Quarter Horse Association (350,000 national members; 7,163 Florida members)
Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (439 members)
U.S. Trotting Association (25,000 members)
Florida Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association (630 members)
Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (1,300 members)
National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (35,000 members)
Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (5,000 members)