The First District Court of Appeal is siding with Hamilton Downs, a North Florida pari-mutuel facility, in a legal battle with state regulators.
While a hearing officer described them as “slow motion horse races,” with “tired, reluctant, skittish or disinterested horses,” the three-judge panel ruled they still qualified as races.
The 12-page ruling finds that track owners ultimately met licensing requirements.
Judges noted the races occurred before duly appointed officials and winners were awarded purses.
State regulators filed a complaint in 2014.
At issue is a requirement that pari-mutuel facilities offer dog or horse racing if they want to sponsor more lucrative forms of gambling, like slots and card games.