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.
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.
Wagering in Florida on Calder Race Course's recently concluded Tropical at Calder meet fell 31% in 2008, according to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
In a step some racing industry officials expected, Gulfstream Park has told Florida regulators that it plans to hold races during 2009's last five weeks--a lucrative set of dates on which Calder Race Course has raced exclusively in South Florida for more than a decade.
Gulfstream Park said its opening day attendance was more than 15,000 Jan. 3, making it the largest turnout at the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track since 2004.
Youbet.com has reached an agreement to take bets on Gulfstream Park for that track's meet which begins on Jan. 3, Sam Gordon, president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said Dec. 30.
Gulfstream Park is hoping that a move to a five-day race week will help produce larger fields and attract more live fans and other bettors on days that have proven more popular than its newly-dark Mondays.
Gulfstream Park on Dec. 18 asked the Supreme Court of Florida to issue an order that would give law enforcement officials authority to shut down blackjack and baccarat tables at the Seminole Tribe of Florida's casinos in the state.
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has ordered jockey Pascacio "Paco" Lopez to serve 27 days of stewards' suspensions, including seven days at Gulfstream Park's 2009 meet that begins Jan. 3.
Calder Race Course will not hold any overnight stakes through the rest of its meet that ends Jan. 2, 2009. Five have been cut from the next condition book, which runs through Dec. 14.
Churchill Downs Inc. said Nov. 14 that it has barred Pascacio "Paco" Lopez, this year's leading jockey at Calder Race Course, from riding at Calder and other CDI-owned tracks through Jan. 2, 2009, which is the end of the Tropical at Calder meet. The prohibition also includes current meets at Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds.
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has postponed a hearing that was scheduled for Nov. 5 on a possible 30-day suspension of Paco Lopez, who leads Calder Race Course jockeys in victories this year.
Handle at Calder Race Course's recently-concluded Calder meet fell 20% compared with 2007, according to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
San Francisco-based institutional investor Farallon Capital Managment and technology entrepreneur Halsey Minor are separately asking MI Developments Inc. for a major financial shake-up of racing conglomerate Magna Entertainment Corp. MID is the controlling shareholder of the debt-laden racetrack owner.
Harold L. Queen's homebred colt Big Drama will seek a sweep of the Florida Stallion Stakes' open division Oct. 18 when he faces 11 other juveniles in the $400,000 In Reality at Calder Race Course.
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 5 on jockey Paco Lopez's appeal of a 30-day suspension from Calder Race Course stewards.
The two other pari-mutuels in Miami-Dade County, Florida, have moved ahead of Calder Race Course in announcing plans for casinos that would have Las Vegas-style slot machines.
John Brunetti has rejected technology entrepreneur Halsey Minor's first official offer to buy Hialeah Park.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum on Sept. 19 asked the National Indian Gaming Commission to issue a temporary order to shut down the blackjack and baccarat tables and Class III Las Vegas-style slot machines at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
Technology entrepreneur Halsey Minor has sent Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti a plan on the potential cost of rebuilding and operating the race track.
Walk around Calder Race Course and you'll keep hearing the word "Paco" from the lips of trainers, bettors, stewards, and other track officials.
The Supreme Court of Florida Sept. 11 denied a request by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gov. Charlie Crist for a re-hearing on its July 3 ruling that blackjack and baccarat are illegal at the tribe's Hollywood, Fla., casino.
Churchill Downs Inc. and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association announced Sept. 10 that they have reached an agreement on a contract for future slot machine revenue at CDI-owned Calder Race Course.
- By Jim Freer
Churchill Downs Inc. and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association announced on Sept. 10 that they have reached an agreement on a contract for future slot machine revenue at CDI-owned Calder Race Course.
Calder Race Course will hold its sixth annual Juvenile Showcase on Sept. 6, with six non-graded stakes races for 2-year olds.
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering is preparing new rules on anabolic steroids and plans to issue them before the end of this year.
Calder Race Course got state permission to run four days a week instead of five for an 11-week period beginning Sept. 1. The South Florida track has lost horses due to reduced purses that were caused by a lingering dispute over simulcast signal distribution.
Calder Race Course has asked the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering for permission to hold live racing four days a week, rather than five, during 11 weeks beginning Sept. 1.
Prospective Hialeah Park buyer Halsey Minor has sent consultants and accountants to examine the closed racetrack, and Minor and Hialeah owner John Brunetti say they are planning more talks on a possible sale.
Pascacio "Paco" Lopez, this year's leading jockey at Calder Race Course, has appealed a 30-day suspension for careless riding.
Dennis Testa has left Gulfstream Park, where he has served as director of operations since 1998.
Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti and prospective buyer Halsey Minor held their first meeting Aug. 6, with Brunetti later saying "we will have another meeting to see if our common interests are strong enough to continue going forward."
Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti is looking forward to meeting with prospective buyer Halsey Minor about what he calls multiple "hurdles" to returning racing to the historic track that last held a meet in 2001.
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