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MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) – A dispute involving the representation of quarter-horse owners and trainers at Hialeah Park has led to a legal challenge against state gambling regulators.

The Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, which has represented owners and trainers at the track, filed the challenge last week, arguing that the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation improperly issued licenses to Hialeah.

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The case stems from a decision by Hialeah to enter an agreement with a newly formed organization, the South Florida Quarter Horse Association, to represent owners and trainers.

The department’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering issued racing and cardroom licenses to Hialeah after the formation of the new association, which the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association argues, in part, is a “captive” group.

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“For the first time ever, the Division (of Pari-Mutuel Wagering) is allowing pari-mutuel permit holders to proceed with dictating racing dates and controlling additional gaming revenues based on an agreement with a captive horsemen’s association created at the whim of the individual pari-mutuel facility,” the 14-page challenge said. “Individual facilities will be able to control the disbursement of revenues generated by wagering on the horse races as well as other gaming activities without any true input from a representative of an independent horsemen’s association contrary to the established policy and intent of Florida’s pari-mutuel statutes.”

The case was assigned Monday to Administrative Law Judge Lawrence Stevenson.

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The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.