Florida Barrel Racing Hearing Concludes

Hearing concludes, ruling expected in November.

Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association
August 27, 2012

Generic Racing Shot

The extended evidentiary hearing in the long-running dispute over “pari-mutuel barrel racing” concluded on August 23, 2012, at the State of Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings in Tallahassee.   

The controversy was sparked by the first-ever issuance of a wagering license for rodeo-like barrel racing.  The activity was approved by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering shortly after a Quarter Horse pari-mutuel permitholder in Gretna, Florida submitted the request in September 2011 to change from established Quarter Horse racing to a new type of barrel racing never before authorized in the United States.  

The agency’s decision approving “pari-mutuel barrel racing” as a new form of gambling activity in Florida was carried out suddenly and secretly, and without any legal authority, regulatory hearings or public input.  

In fact, the top official at the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering at the time testified during the trial that the approval of “pari-mutuel barrel racing” racing was “a joke” and “an embarrassment” to the State of Florida.  That official was dismissed abruptly in September 2011 and, days later, his replacement signed the controversial “pari-mutuel barrel racing” license.  

The Quarter Horse racing stakeholders who are challenging the Division’s pronouncement on "pari-mutuel barrel racing" are seeking an order requiring the agency to conduct public hearings before approving any further "pari-mutuel barrel racing" activity in Florida.  

The Administrative Law Judge’s ruling in the case is expected in November 2012.

Related litigation remains pending, both in Florida administrative and circuit court.