Letter: Howard is misinformed on horse fund

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To the Editor,

Letters1It is apparent, after reading Mr. Howard’s letter on the Race Horse Development Fund, that he should not be running for Representative.  His research and information could not be further from the truth and lack any comprehension of the importance of the horse breeding industry and its impact on Chester County’s economy and the preservation of open space.

First of all, the RHDF hasn’t been given a nickel from the state, in fact it’s been the opposite. The casinos, the state and the Horsemen’s organizations all share, by mutual agreement, a percentage of slot revenue.  Each casino receives approximately 46 percent, the state 43 percent and the state’s horsemen and breeders receive 11 percent. Why do the horsemen and breeders receive a percentage?  Because everyone recognized when the legislature legalized casino gaming at racetracks that it would adversely impact horse betting, which in turn would hurt the equine industry. The money that goes into the RHDF is not state tax dollars. Even so, the state’s horsemen and breeders have even given $206 million in funds from the RHDF to the state to help balance its budget.

Secondly, the RHDF is projected to receive $245 million this year, not the $301 million Howard claims. This money will be divided between purses at five racetracks and two organizations for breeders’ incentives. More than 90 percent of this funding will be reinvested in the Pennsylvania economy. That’s right, invested back into the Pennsylvania economy where it will benefit people in our community, including horse owners and breeders, jockeys, trainers, and thousands of other Pennsylvanians who are employed in the state’s racing and breeding industry. In fact, according to the Department of Agriculture, the horse racing and breeding industry is responsible for 23,000 jobs in Pennsylvania – jobs that support families as well as generate tax revenue for the state. In addition, there are countless businesses that also benefit, including feed mills, hay and mushroom farms, veterinarians and blacksmiths.

The state’s racing industry is also responsible for the preservation of tens of thousands of acres of open space by helping to support the hundreds of mom and pop farms like my own. We are far from millionaires Howard characterizes us as. Many of us small farm owners work seven days a week, 365 days a year keeping our horse farms operating, trying to make ends meet, and keep our employees paid.

If I told Mr. Howard, or anyone for that matter, that there was a new business coming to Pennsylvania that needed ZERO state funding, employed 23,000 people, generated business for thousands more and generate and economic impact back of $1.6 billion annually in the Commonwealth, they would stand up and cheer for that business. Well guess what — that’s what racing and breeding has done for Pennsylvania.

I’m not expecting Howard to stand up and cheer. But I do want him to understand the facts before he opens his mouth and embarrasses himself in front of voters. In his letter, Mr. Howard alleged “dishonorable” behavior. In reality, the only behavior that is dishonorable is his own. Shame on him for writing a letter filled with unsubstantiated facts that tarnish the image of thousands of hard working Pennsylvania taxpayers. Even worse, Howard would effectively kill the state’s horse racing and breeding industry which is vital to Chester County’s economy and would result in the loss of significant open space in local communities.

Mr. Howard should consider applying for an economics course instead of applying to be a State Representative. Mr. Howard, if you want to know more about the facts, please call our office in Kennett Square and I will be more than happy to meet with you.

Brian Sanfratello
President and average Mom and Pop breeder
Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association 

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10 Comments on "Letter: Howard is misinformed on horse fund"

Sarah Brown
1 year 5 months ago

to Brian Sanfratello – horseracing has always been knows as “The Sport of Kings” so if you are in the industry, you are among the kings.

to all, I grew up in the industry and I’d say people in the horseracing industry are many times less than totally truthful – if only the taxpayers knew what really goes on in the world of racing and behind the scenes, in the barns, at the stables. I had to laugh about recent legislation to allocate taxpayer money to stop the doping and drugs used in the horseracing industry. It’s always been that way and always will be. No amount of taxpayer dollars / legislation is going to stop that, but if it can be stopped, the ‘kings’ of the sport should be paying for it – not the taxpayers.

It’s unfortunate that people are so fooled by the “environmental/conservation” rhetoric. If you want to preserve land, buy it yourself. Do not use our taxpayer dollars to give to another man for his land. Why would any hardworking taxpayer want to have their money used to hand over to another man so a land trust or conservancy or municipality can buy or control his land. Hello “kings” – buy the land yourselves; that’s the American way (or it used to be).

Horseracing and casinos are not an industry we need to be putting money into (it is low on the list) – we have much more important issues that need addressed. Roger Howard is a man of truth and integrity and he will help stop the spending – he will be a dedicated ‘public servant’.. Conservation folks and the horseracing kings love to spend “other people’s money” I have learned over the decades.

I ask you to support Roger Howard in the upcoming primary.

Sarah Brown
1 year 5 months ago

Roger Howard has had a very successful career – not working? He’s earned retirement by hard work and not a handout.

He’s a man of integrity and truth and people would do well to support him as their representative in Harrisburg where corruption is rampant and little common sense prevails.

Keith Knauss
1 year 5 months ago

We have tax revenues currently going to the RHDF which then distributes the funds to the horse industry. Mr. Howard would like those tax funds to, instead, go toward education. I’m not sure what is in the best interests of the taxpayers. Both alternatives have their advantages and disadvantages. A factual debate weighing the alternatives would be better than political sound bites.
What’s curious to me is why doesn’t a small government/ low tax advocate like Mr. Howard propose eliminating the 11% tax on casinos and instead leave that money with the private sector entrepreneurs?

Ray Farrell
1 year 5 months ago

There it is ladies and gentlemen, the threatened lawsuit for discovering the truth.


The State charges a 54% tax on slot machine receipts. The RHDF is funded with these tax receipts. The casino operator keeps 46%, of which none goes to the RHDF. That’s the law.

Open Space? Many of your horse farm’s and estate’s had their develoment rights purchased courtesy of the taxpayer so they will never be developed, regardless of who owns the land. Thank god for the golden-egg laying taxpayer…I guess.

Horse farms and stables operated by people on the breeders board receive funds for their horse operation. Didnt say it was “illegal”. Is it Immoral and inappropriate for people to handle State revenue which makes its way into their own business interest.

EM Resident
1 year 5 months ago

Ray, you seem to be a “last word” type of guy. Since you are in a hole, let me throw you a shovel. You and your man are contending the Philadelphia School District is a more efficient steward of State revenues than the PHBA. You fail to address lost jobs and open space. Mr. Howard is naïve.