The First District Court of Appeal ruled in February that the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation mistakenly granted a controversial license to the North Florida racetrack. For the first time in the nation, a license authorized barrel racing as a pari-mutuel activity.
Horse races in Florida authorize a facility to operate lucrative card rooms, with the possibility of allowing more-profitable slot machines.
Controversy over the Gretna license comes in part because the racetrack did not run the typical quarter-horse races.
In granting the license in 2011, ruled an administrative law judge last year, the agency essentially created a new class of horse-racing without the proper authority.
Since the judge’s decision, Gretna Racing stopped barrel races, agreeing with the state to hold “flag drop” races, where two horses compete without obstacles.
For more than a year, the agency has been working to draft new horse-racing rules.
Documents in the case show that on Thursday the state and Rutledge Ecenia, which sought to collect more than $330,000 in legal fees and other costs, agreed to a single$200,000 lump-sum settlement.