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Financier Reid Nagle voices opposition to Florida horse race decoupling

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Before he started training Thoroughbred racehorses in Florida five years ago, Reid Nagle had spent more than 30 years in the world of high finance.

In 1987, he founded SNL Financial, the premier multi-industry business intelligence service that caters to Wall Street and public companies worldwide. Starting with four employees and a small office in Hoboken, N.J., today SNL has 3,300 employees, offices in four continents and was just sold last month to McGraw-Hill Financial for $2.25 billion.

Currently, Nagle has 20 horses in training, split between Oak Ridge Equine Training Center in Morriston and Gulfstream Park. He operates a high-end barn rental operation at Oak Ridge, and owns the largest manure removal and shavings delivery company serving the Ocala area — All-In Shavings and Removal. These rapidly growing horse-related enterprises collectively have 35 full-time employees in Florida.

Humble and soft-spoken, Nagle loves Florida and loves to train his Thoroughbreds here. But Nagle’s love for the Sport of Kings was why he’s stepping up and voicing his objection to any legislative consideration of “decoupling” — a misguided plan he agrees will trash horse racing in Florida, and forcing him to export horses and jobs to more horse-racing-friendly states.

“Decoupling casinos from horse racing will cripple our businesses,” he explained from his Central Florida operation. “Opposing it is a no-brainer.”

“I’d very likely have to race my horses elsewhere,” he said, “because, at that point, Florida just won’t be able to compete effectively with the many other states that have kept the linkage between casino gambling and horse racing. Our other horse-related businesses would shrink dramatically as well.”

Florida horse-racing industry officials have sounded the alarm at the recent surge of legislative interest in “decoupling,” which would effectively expand gambling by immediately creating stand-alone casinos and eliminating Florida’s competitive edge in attracting horse-racing business from other states.

“Florida seems committed to doing anything and everything imaginable to compete with other states for business, and now some misguided legislators are considering changes that would cripple the state’s robust horse-racing industry that attracts tourists and provides employment to tens of thousands of workers.” Nagle said.

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