01/18/2016 12:02PM

Berman hired to lead Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association


Glen Berman, the executive director of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association since 2009, will leave that position to take the head job at the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association at a critical time for the organization, the FHBPA announced on Monday.

Berman, a practicing attorney and licensed pharmacist, will start as executive director of the FHBPA on Feb. 15, the organization said. The FHBPA board has been searching for a new executive director since the retirement late last year of longtime executive director Kent Stirling.

The FHBPA is aggressively lobbying the state legislature to reject proposals that would allow racetracks to cease parimutuel operations while still retaining gambling licenses for poker and slot machines. The “decoupling” effort is being led by some parimutuel operators, especially greyhound tracks and jai alai venues, with additional support, paradoxically, from anti-racing advocates who see the proposal as a way of ending dog racing.

Berman also will be responsible for all of the FHBPA’s contract negotiations with racetracks. Thoroughbred racing in south Florida is now conducted exclusively by The Stronach Group at its racetrack Gulfstream Park and at Calder Race Course (now named Gulfstream Park West), which The Stronach Group leases from Churchill Downs Inc.

“The vote for Glen to come on board was unanimous, and we’re confident he brings the kind of leadership and experience that will pave the way for horsemen’s continued success in Florida for many years to come,” said FHBPA board member Adam Lazarus.

Stirling was executive director of the FHBPA since 1995, and for three years prior, he was the organization’s president. He also was the chairman of the National HBPA’s Medication Committee and was instrumental in devising the National HBPA’s medication policies.