It is time for the State of Florida to stop this insanity in allowing Barrel Racing to become a pari-mutuel sport. If the Florida Division of Pari-mutuel Racing doesn't come to its senses, it is time for the legislature to act.
It is clear that some speculators are using unintended loopholes in the quarterhorse licenses to open up card rooms and in the case of Gretna, eventually open a casino. However, there are deep questions to be asked with regards to Barrel Racing becoming a wagering sport. Namely, are the riders and trainers going to be licensed as qiuarterhorse trainers and jockeys? Clearly, there is no such thing as a licensed Barrel Racing rider. Are there any regulations regarding medication for the horses racing or will the trainers be able to pump whatever medication they want into their horses? Does the state have any racing officials? ls who are trained in presiding over the races? The fact is there are no rules in place and even if you wanted to offer pari-mutuel barrel racing in Florida, time should be taken to establish the proper regulatory rules for the sport.
Who is organizing the horsemen groups at these Barrel Racing facilities? Are they truly independent horsemen associations or just groups set up by the owners of the facilities? Who is negotiating the horsemen's share of the revenue from the card rooms, slots and pari-mutuel handle?
What past performance data will be kept for Barrel Racing? I tend to doubt the AQHA is set up to keep such records necessary for pari-mutuel racing or is Barrel Racing going to become like Jai Lai, pick a number and hope it wins?
Most logical people would concur that pari-mutuel racing involves a highly regulated sport where past performance information is maintained on the contestants, rules regarding medication are maintained, state appointed judges are hired, and set regulations are established. In addition, it is clear when the quarterhorse licenses were established, traditional quarterhorse racing was envisioned.
If the State of Flordia wants to establish Barrel Racing as a pari-mutuel sport, fine. Do it the right way. Don't let 'investors' twist the intent of the current rule on a technicality or flaw in the current law. You can be sure if standardbred monte racing is ever introduced as pari-mutuel in Florida, hearings would be held, regulations established and there will be a record keeping organization in place before the first race would be held; all things missing with Barrel Racing.
If the Governor appoints the members of the DPMW, he should fire the whole lot and replace them with logical people.
It is time to stop the insanity.