Hialeah Keeps Thoroughbred Options Open
Hialeah Park has told Florida regulators that it plans to hold its next Quarter Horse meet Dec. 13, 2013 through Feb.17, 2014.
The 40 racing days that owner and chairman John Brunetti expects to be approved will be exclusively for Quarter Horses.
But Brunetti said Jan. 3 the track might amend its filing with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering and hold some Thoroughbred races beginning July 1, 2013. That would be the first Thoroughbred racing at Hialeah since 2001.
Under its Quarter Horse license, Hialeah can have Thoroughbred races for up to 50% of its scheduie each year.
"We are keeping our options open," Brunetti said. "We are waiting to see what the other two tracks decide. We will not run (Thoroughbreds) head-to-head against either of them."
He was referring to Gulfstream Park and Calder Casino & Race Course, his neighboring tracks in southeast Florida. They have begun another dispute over racing dates amid the process in which Florida tracks select their schedules with almost automatic approval from the Florida DPMW.
The preliminary fillings Gulfstream and Calder submitted to the Florida DPMW in late December do not leave a Thoroughbred spot for Hialeah during the 12 months between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014.
Gulfstream said it plans to expand beyond its four-month season and have racing each Saturday and Sunday during the other eight months. Calder's filing shows it plans to keep its schedule from early April through the end of November, including Saturdays and Sundays.
If two neighboring tracks pick overlapping dates it would not prevent the Florida DPMW from giving approvals. Hialeah, Calder, and Gulfstream have until Feb. 28 to submit their final date filings.
Hialeah will end its 2012-13 Quarter Horse season Feb. 17. During non-racing hours, Hialeah is continuing construction of a casino on the north side of its grandstand. It plans to open the casino in early July 2013.
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