12/30/2011 11:36PM

Gulfstream cancels Quarter Horse race

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  The Quarter Horse race so vehemently opposed by Florida horsemen scheduled for Saturday at Gulfstream Park was cancelled late Friday evening after the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Gulfstream Park officials agreed on a tentative purse agreement.

Phil Combest, president of the FHBPA, said the agreement will mean increased purses, and that the horsemen are relieved the Quarter Horse race was cancelled because "the precedent it sets would have resulted in an enormous negative impact for Florida racing."

Gulfstream Park president and general manager Tim Ritvo, a former trainer, said that track owner Frank Stronach's "first priority has always been Thoroughbred racing, and even at the risk of losing our second license, he has agreed to what he hopes will make Thoroughbred racing thrive in Florida for a long time.“
 
Gulfstream had planned to exercise a dormant non-profit Quarter Horse permit which required the track to run two extra races, one each on Dec. 31 and  Jan. 1, at least one of which had to be for Quarter Horses. The first race on Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream was carded for Quarter Horses, drawing a field of six maidens running under a $5,000 claiming tag. The remaining 11 Thoroughbred races on Saturday’s card are unaffected by the new agreement. 
      
By exercising its non-profit license, Gulfstream could have become eligible for a second casino with up to 2,000 additional Las Vegas-style slot machines.