A crowd of more than 100 harness racing horsemen and women met outside the race paddock at the Isle Pompano Park Saturday morning and heard the positive news they were hoping for. No eviction from the backstretch for horse people and their horses.
“What ever you have heard or read over the past few days is to be forgotten,” Said Joe Pennacchio of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association. “We have nothing but good news today.”
Pennacchio then introduced Joe Morris, the new Vice-President of Racing for Eldorado Casinos that owns Pompano Park. Morris, a Standardbred owner and breeder and former trainer, was hired just three weeks ago by Eldorado. He is well known by many of the horsemen at Pompano Park and received a loud applause before he spoke.
“There is no eviction notice,” Morris started out stating. “We have to look out for each other. We will not evict any horses or people. We will not be throwing out anyone in the dorms. If we (Eldorado) need to help feed people in the backstretch, we will do it. If a trainer can’t afford feed or hay for their horses, we will help them. If a horseman has the opportunity to ship and race at another track and can’t afford it, we will help them.
“We don’t know how long this coronavirus will keep us shut down,” Morris said. “We don’t know if we will be able to race this meet right now, but we are already meeting and planning for the race meet next season.
“We are also looking into your health insurance,” Morris added. “We will not allow anyone in the backstretch to go without health insurance at a time like this. In today’s world you have to have health insurance and if need be, we will help fund it. We have to look out after each other.
“Things are hard enough nowadays,” Morris explained. “And we do not want you to have to worry about going anywhere until you are ready and we want you all to know that we are here to help you.”
By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink
Photo by Steve Wolf