FQHRA, Hialeah Reach Partial Agreement on Purses
Horsemen and Florida track have resolved several key issues.
January 21, 2015
The Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (FQHRA), the representative of Florida Quarter Horsemen, and the South Florida Racing Association (SFRA), the owners and management of Hialeah Park Racetrack and Casino, reached an agreement on Sunday, January 18, to resolve key issues in their ongoing dispute under the purse contract for Quarter Horse racing at Hialeah Park. The parties commenced arbitration in early 2014, when Hialeah Park claimed that they had the right to control the horsemen’s bookkeeper account. On December 24, 2014, at the commencement of the 2014-15 race meet, Hialeah Park took control of the horsemen’s account and the FQHRA filed a breach of contract claim against the SFRA for that action.
The first four weeks of this meet have been completed. The parties appeared on Sunday before the Honorable Israel Reyes, a retired Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge, who has the authority to issue binding orders in this arbitration. The purpose of this hearing was to try to reach an interim agreement regarding payment of purses, stakes race purses, nomination fees and breeder awards. Dr. Steve Fisch, the president of the FQHRA, and John Brunetti Sr., CEO of Hialeah Park, participated in the Sunday arbitration hearing and reached the partial agreement. Arbitrator Reyes entered two orders to enforce the agreement.
The parties sought to ensure that overnight purses, stakes race purses, nomination fees and Florida breeder awards would be paid in full during this meet. As part of the resolution, the arbitrator ordered that FQHRA representative Duayne Diderickson could participate in Hialeah Park’s finalization of the conditions for all remaining races to be run at Hialeah Park during the current meet. The finalized conditions will be submitted to the arbitrator for his review and approval.
The resolution protects the interests of the horsemen who own, train and race Quarter Horses at Hialeah Park, while also ensuring that the current 2014-15 meet’s races will be conducted without interruption. The parties will continue to arbitrate the remaining issues, with a hearing scheduled before arbitrator Reyes in early March.
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