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VLT Legislation Proceeding in Florida

The sponsor of legislation that would authorize video lottery terminals at Florida's pari-mutuel facilities said budget concerns in the state give it some chance to pass. Meanwhile, two VLT bills in the Senate cleared committee March 6 and could be combined.

Pros and Cons Offered On Hialeah's Future

A state lawmaker who grew up in the shadow of the stately Hialeah Park race course made an impassioned call Wednesday for lawmakers to save the track. But with the legislative session coming down to the wire, the effort to forestall deregulation of Thoroughbred racing in South Florida -- which is threatening racing at Hialeah -- is a longshot.

Despite Increases, Hialeah's Future Remains Uncertain

Though its future is imperiled by the prospect of head-to-head competition from Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course, Hialeah Park posted strong numbers through its first three weeks of live racing. Buoyed by good weather, a resolution of its differences with the local horsemen's association, and an increase in field size, Hialeah recorded a 20% jump in total handle and a 3% increase in on-track attendance.

Gulfstream Bettors Shut Out on Tampa Bay Simulcasts

Patrons at Gulfstream Park can watch and bet on races from tracks as far away as Cessnock in Australia, but are unable to do the same on Tampa Bay Downs due to the lack of a simulcasting agreement between the tracks. "It just seems like it isn't the highest priority to them," said Gulfstream president Scott Savin, who indicated that the conflict was not over money, "They have just delayed it continually for no good reason I can understand."

Hialeah's Brunetti Upset By Dates' Requests

Hialeah Park Chairman John J. Brunetti had some harsh words for rival tracks Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park in discussing recent filings with the State of Florida for operating dates in 2002. "The actions taken by the other tracks are contrary to their public façade of cooperation," Brunetti said, upset that both Calder and Gulfstream have filed for expanded live racing dates that infringe on Hialeah's customary operating period of March 17-May 22.

No Contract Agreement at Tampa Bay; Race Fields Decline

New Year's celebrations were muted at Tampa Bay Downs where racetrack management and horsemen remain locked in a contract dispute. Track general manager John Grady said he met with the Tampa Bay Downs Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association board Saturday, but the meeting ended without resolution.

No Contract Agreement at Tampa Bay; Race Fields Decline

New Year's celebrations were muted at Tampa Bay Downs where racetrack management and horsemen remain locked in a contract dispute. Track general manager John Grady said he met with the Tampa Bay Downs Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association board Saturday, but the meeting ended without resolution.

Tampa Bay, Horsemen Again in Purse Dispute

On the heels of a horsemen's dispute that spoiled its 1999 opening week, Tampa Bay Downs is having problems signing a purse contract before opening day Dec. 16, and it could be compounded by legal problems. The Oldsmar, Fla., track appears to have violated its existing purse agreement with horsemen by denying stalls to six officers, or their trainers, of the Tampa Bay Downs Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, according to HBPA officials.

Hialeah Will Return Home for 2001 Meet

Hialeah Park announced that it will run its 2001 meet – scheduled for March 17 through May 22 – at its home track. Hialeah ran its 2000 meet as a lessee at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, and reported gains in attendance and handle as compared to its 1999 meet, run at Hialeah.

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