Dan Daley pushes to preserve Standardbred horse racing as Special Session begins
Image via YouTube.

Standardbred horse racing
Daley says proposed decoupling provisions could threaten the industry in Florida.

Democratic Rep. Dan Daley seeks to spare the Standardbred horse racing industry as lawmakers gather in Tallahassee for a Special Session on a new gaming compact.

The form of racing is different from regular horse racing fare. Standardbred races involve a horse pulling a two-wheeled cart, where the driver sits. Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park is currently the last facility in Florida where those races are run, and the new compact may see them come to an end.

“The Standardbred racing industry in Florida is under attack,” Daley said in a new video aiming to highlight the issue. In it, he argues certain legislative proposals “would eliminate an entire industry for our state and for the thousands of Floridians that depend on it.”

Daley is also writing a letter to his legislative colleagues to rally support around the issue this week.

Under current law, if a casino wishes to operate card games, it must also run some sort of live event. That live event could be jai alai, Standardbred races or other types of races, for instance.

But lawmakers are proposing an end to that requirement, meaning facilities could operate card games without a live component. That would allow the Isle to end Standardbred horse racing and still operate its other games, and the casino has already signaled it would do just that.

Daley’s issue is also personal. His dad was a Standardbred horseman, allowing Daley to help out in the stables growing up. While Standardbred racing is limited to one casino in the state, Daley says it generated a decades-high revenue mark at the Isle last year and should be preserved because of its effects outside the industry as well.

“This is a family business. Every member of the family — just like me growing up — partakes to make a difference because they care about racing their horses, feeding their families and living their lives here in the great state of Florida,” Daley said in the video.

“This isn’t just a Broward issue, where that one track operates. There are 62 farms and seven training facilities all across this great state that would be negatively impacted.”

In a separate letter sent to Senate and House lawmakers, Daley pushed to highlight the industry ahead of the Special Session vote.

“I am asking that you stand with me and oppose the decoupling of Standardbred racing in Florida. If we are going to keep the Thoroughbreds coupled, we should not pick winners and losers and keep them both tied to an operator,” Daley wrote.

“Standardbred horsemen and women are not terribly political — they vote, but that’s about it. They do not have a campaign war chest and their only involvement in Tallahassee has been to play defense against a casino operator who has been looking to eliminate them for 20 years. These are good, hard-working men and women who just want to race their horses and feed their families.”


Last updated on May 17, 2021

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


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