Sports Outside the Beltway

Florida horsemen say 2009 racing meet will end 3 months early

Could harness racing in Florida be permanently kaput as early as May 2nd 2009?

The Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) has issued a press release stating that the Isle Casino at Pompano has asked the state of Florida to approve a reduction in the number of Standardbred racing days for the 2008-2009 race meet from 160 to 140.
In addition, the FSBOA release noted that the Isle Casino at Pompano Park confirmed that they have applied for a summer Quarter Horse license. There had been previous reports that Pompano Park was applying for a summer Quarter Horse license.

Also, the FSBOA release said that the Standardbred meet will end on May 2, 2009, instead of the original schedule of Aug. 2, as advertised on the stall application. The FSBOA also said Steve Wolf, Director of Racing at Pompano, told the horsemen in a memo that the stable area and the grooms quarters must be vacated by May 10, 2009. This includes all horses (400–800) and all personal property. Anything left behind will be discarded by management.

“This change will have a devastating effect on Standardbred racing in Florida. It will not only put the breeding and Florida Sire Stakes programs in grave danger, it could spell the end of harness racing in Florida,” said the FSBOA press release.

I don’t know if what the FSBOA is saying is true or if they’re doing a impersonation of Chicken Little ‘Harness racing is falling. Harness racing is falling.’ The Sun-Sentinel based out of Fort Lauderdale, less than ten miles from Pompano Park, hasn’t
reported a word on the state of local harness racing this year.

What I do know, is that horse racing is a precarious situation at present. One being made worse by the current economic situation. I’ve written more multiple times about the economic difficulties ‘The Sport of Kings’ has faced of late. It is my worse fear that the sport will be extinct or close to it in as little as ten years.

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