Florida's Thoroughbred industry will enter 2010 without the expanded racing, other gaming, and tax breaks it thought it had gained during this year's session of the state legislature.
Gulfstream Park and Hialeah Park are battling over the Thoroughbred racing permit the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering took away from Hialeah in 2003.
Gulfstream Park and Forest City Enterprises on Dec. 9 announced details for their scheduled Feb. 11, 2010 opening of the retail portion of the Village at Gulfstream Park.
Calder Race Course has placed a fourth barn under quarantine after a horse stabled in it showed signs of illness.
Hialeah Park is seeking to run Thoroughbred races during its Quarter Horse meeting, according to a letter Hialeah owner John Brunetti sent to Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course.
Calder Race Course announced the postponement of its two graded stakes scheduled for Dec. 5--the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) and $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIT)--due to a current quarantine of the stable area. There is no word on when the races will be rescheduled.
A horse previously stabled at Calder Race Course has tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus.
Hialeah Park opened its Quarter Horse meet on Nov. 28 before an overflow crowd that track officials estimated at 26,874, based on turnstile counts at one of the entrances and the number of cars in parking lots.
- By Jim Freer
Hialeah Park opened its Quarter Horse meet Nov. 28 before a crowd that track owner and president John J. Brunetti estimated at between 15,000-20,000.
Driving into the parking lot at Hialeah Park Nov. 23, one could see a large satellite dish that was not there several weeks ago and a Teleview Racing Patrol truck. There were also several dozen cars in the lot. Those were the first clear signs that racing will indeed resume Nov. 28 at the historic Hialeah, Fla., track.
Quarter Horses began arriving at Hialeah Park Nov. 12 and within several days they will begin training for the track's 40-day meet that will begin Nov. 28.
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering Oct. 27 approved Hialeah Park's application to hold a 40-day Quarter Horse meet beginning Nov. 28.
Hialeah Park has set Nov. 14 as the date for the start of arrival of Quarter Horses for a 40-day meet it plans to run beginning Nov. 28. But as of Oct. 22, the Hialeah, Fla., track was still waiting for the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to approve its application for racing dates.
Calder Race Course is preparing marketing plans for poker and a casino president and general manager Tom O'Donnell expects will attract a significant number of customers from some nearby pari-mutuel facilities and tribal casinos in southeast Florida.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said on Oct. 5 that it is "extremely disappointed" by Calder Race Course's Oct. 3 announcement that it will cut overnight purses 15% beginning on Oct. 8.
Unlike a year ago at this time, you can stand at the rail at Hialeah Park and see the lake in the infield and the familiar flamingos. You also are next to the dirt track that Hialeah Park president and owner John J. Brunetti says could be ready for Quarter Horses before mid-October.
Hialeah Park has filed applications for Quarter Horse racing dates, telling the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering it plans to run a 20-day meet late this year and another 20-day meet early in 2010.
A state court in Tallahassee, Fla., on Sept. 11 honored trainer Kirk Ziadie's request and dismissed his appeal of a 60-day suspension and $1,000 fine by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering for a violation of medication rules.
Tampa Bay Downs vice president and general manager Peter Berube says the track "might not be in a position to continue" racing if the Florida legislature accepts the latest gaming compact between Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Hialeah Park chairman John Brunetti Sr. is not optimistic the track's first Quarter Horse meet will be a financial success.
The Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and Hialeah Park announced Sept. 4 that the Hialeah, Fla., track will hold its first Quarter Horse meet from Nov. 28, 2009 through Feb. 2, 2010. However, Hialeah Park had not applied for those dates or any other Quarter Horse race dates as of Sept. 4, said Alexis Lambert, a spokeswoman for the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe of Florida signed a gaming compact Aug. 31 that has some significant changes from a gaming law Crist and the Florida legislature approved earlier this year.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are nearing their Aug. 31 deadline to approve a Gaming Compact, which would trigger a new law that would provide economic benefits for the state's Thoroughbred industry and for that tribe's casinos.
Calder Race Course has barred trainer Kirk Ziadie from training and all other activity at its property. Ziadie said Calder officials handed him an indefinite expulsion late in the afternoon Aug. 20 "and told me I have 72 hours to leave the grounds."
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering expects that a state court in Tallahassee could wait until next April before it issues a ruling on trainer Kirk Ziadie's appeal of a 60-day suspension for a medication violation.
A judge in a state circuit court in Miami on Aug. 8 dismissed Internet entrepreneur Halsey Minor's civil suit that requested a transfer in control of Hialeah Park from its chairman and principal owner John Brunetti to the city of Hialeah, Fla.
All-sources handle at Calder Race Course rose 48%, from $131.4 million to $195 million, during this year's second quarter, according to parent company Churchill Downs in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. But Calder's handle for the quarter ended June 30 was 22% below its handle of $249 million for the second quarter of 2007.
David J. Roberts left his post at the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering after eight years.
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has issued a 60-day suspension to trainer Kirk Ziadie, citing a case in which one of his horses tested positive for a race-day banned tranquilizer after a 2007 race at Gulfstream Park.
- By Jim Freer
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a gaming bill June 15 that contains several changes sought by the state's Thoroughbred industry and some changes in the operations of the Seminole Tribe of Florida's casinos.
The number 35 was on almost everyone's lips on June 3 when Calder Race Course broke ground for a casino it plans to open next January on its property in Miami Gardens, Fla.
- By Jim Freer
The Florida Legislature passed a gaming bill May 8 that includes several changes sought by the state's Thoroughbred industry, and a compromise on the contentious issue of table games at the Seminole Tribe of Florida's casinos.
The Florida Legislature May 1 extended its annual regular session for seven days, with pending bills on Thoroughbred and other pari-mutuel issues and on Indian gaming among unfinished business.
The Florida Legislature will end its annual regular session May 1, and as of April 28 the House and Senate had not resolved major gaming issues including whether the Seminole Tribe of Florida should be able to keep blackjack and baccarat tables at its casinos.
Calder Race Course will open its eight-month season April 24, with track officials and South Florida horsemen hoping for a big rebound from a problem-filled 2008.
Hialeah Park probably will begin Quarter Horse racing in 2010 only if the Florida Legislature makes three major changes in state racing laws, the track's owner John Brunetti said April 15.
Calder Race Course announced April 16 that it has signed a 2009 purse contract agreement with the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. The Miami Gardens, Fla., track and its parent, Churchill Downs Inc., reached the agreement with the Florida HBPA on the evening of April 15.
Calder Race Course is preparing to open its 2009 season on April 24, but as of April 7 the track's parent Churchill Downs Inc. had not signed a purse contract with the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
- By Jim Freer
Technology entrepreneur Halsey Minor said on April 3 that he has submitted a bid to Magna Entertainment Corp. under which he would buy substantially all of that bankrupt company's assets except Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Calder Race Course March 31 submitted its final filing for 2009-10 racing dates to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and it confirms earlier reports that Calder will not run head-to-head with nearby Gulfstream Park during that period.
Gulfstream Park said March 27 it will run its next meet from Jan. 3, 2010 to April 24, 2010, ending speculation it could seek dates in November and December of 2009.
Members of the Florida House of Representatives March 24 released a draft of a bill that would require the Seminole Tribe of Florida to remove blackjack and baccarat tables from its casinos. The proposal would permit the Seminoles to keep the Class III Las Vegas-style slot machines they began installing at their Florida casinos last summer.
The chairman of an important Florida Senate committee March 24 introduced a bill that would allow Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course to have blackjack and baccarat, while permitting the Seminole Tribe of Florida to keep those two games and add roulette and crap tables at its casinos.
Hialeah Park received a Quarter Horse permit from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering on March 17, with an apparent mandate to begin that racing by March 17, 2010.
Gulfstream Park said its average daily all-sources handle rose 3.6% and that its average daily on-track handle was up 7.2% during this year's first two months.
The Florida Legislature will begin its annual two-month session on March 3, with the state's Thoroughbred tracks and other pari-mutuels seeking changes in a gaming compact that Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe of Florida signed in 2007.
Magna Entertainment Corp. and partner Forest City Enterprises announced Feb. 26 the first 32 tenants for the retail portion of their The Village at Gulfstream Park development. Plans for the $1.2-billion complex, adjacent to Gulfstream's clubhouse/casino building, include a hotel and condominiums on the property in Hallandale Beach, Fla. Meanwhile, officials are reluctant to speculate on a possible bankruptcy filing by MEC.
Technology entrepreneur Halsey Minor on Feb. 9 filed a civil suit that maintains John Brunetti, by not holding racing at Hialeah Park since 2001, is in default on agreements under which he purchased the historic race track.
A switch to five-day racing weeks and a long stretch of dry weather are among the factors helping Gulfstream Park buck an industry trend of lower pari-mutuel handle.
Eclipse Award attendees and the TVG viewers tuned in on the night of Jan. 26 were anticipating, and many were hoping, that Curlin would repeat as Horse of the Year.
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