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.
Mike Cronin has been appointed assistant to the president for marketing at Gulfstream Park, the Florida racetrack announced Dec. 1.
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.
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.
Ken Dunn, formerly of Calder Casino & Race Course, has joined the Gulfstream Park management team, the South Florida racetrack announced Nov. 2.
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.
John Lies will be the track announcer for the upcoming Quarter Horse racing season at Hialeah Park in Florida.
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.
Sam Abbey has been named racing secretary for the Quarter Horse meet that begins Nov. 28 at Hialeah Park.
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.
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.
Hialeah Park will be back in business "as soon as possible" with plans to eventually add Thoroughbred racing, officials of the Florida racetrack said June 8.
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.
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.
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.
John Brunetti has rejected technology entrepreneur Halsey Minor's first official offer to buy Hialeah Park.
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.
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.
John Brunetti, the owner of Hialeah Park, said he has spoken "briefly" to Halsey Minor about the technology entrepreneur's dream to buy and reopen the South Florida track. But even though the two men have agreed to talk again in early August, Brunetti told Minor he "isn't really interested in selling yet" because he still hopes to resurrect Hialeah himself.
Halsey Minor has a dream. The technology entrepreneur, multimillionaire, and Thoroughbred owner wants to purchase, renovate, and return racing to historic Hialeah Park, the Southern Florida track that has been closed since 2001.
Shuttered to live racing since 2001, historic Hialeah Park in South Florida could soon lose its operating permit.
Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course have filed amended racing dates for the year ending May 31, 2004, that prevent any overlap.
Magna Entertainment's Palm Meadows, a Thoroughbred training center designed to relieve the stall shortage in South Florida, will be ready for equine residents this winter but dormitories for employees may not be ready.
A three-year-old drug-positive case against trainers David Donk, Todd Pletcher, and Mark Hennig has been dropped by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
Gulfstream Park ended its meet April 24 with handle and attendance numbers significantly down from a year ago.
Legislation that would mandate three distinct seasons of Thoroughbred racing in South Florida has been introduced in the House by Rep. Rene Garcia, whose district includes Hialeah Park. Another bill introduced by Garcia calls for statutory changes related to racing dates.
With the Florida legislature preparing to begin its annual session on Jan. 22, Hialeah Park filed the opening salvo in its efforts to run a live race meet in 2003.
While California has worried about declining field sizes for about two years, Santa Anita Park has created hope this year by attracting 20% more starters per race in its first two weeks. On the East Coast, however, average field size has gone from boom to bust. Gulfstream Park came out of its 2001 season with an 8.2% increase in average starters per race, but this year field size lagged 18% during the first week of racing.
Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti has asked six organizations to each contribute $270,000 toward the cost of keeping the facility open for winter training. If they don't, Brunetti apparently will pull the plug on an endeavor that began only weeks ago.
Despite uncertainty surrounding the viability of a live race meet, Hialeah Park will keep its backstretch and racing surface open for training from November through April 2002.
Churchill Downs Inc. has filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade, Fla., Circuit Court alleging that Hialeah Park has failed to make payments of approximately $185,000 in simulcast fees. Meanwhile, a North Dakota wagering company and South Florida horsemen also are seeking money from the racetrack.
A transfer of about $650,000 in funds to Calder Race Course on June 12 has ended a dispute between Florida horsemen and Hialeah Park. The funds represent all but $57,000 -- the total of accounts with negative balances -- that remained in horsemen's accounts as of the May 22 closing of Hialeah.
Though Hialeah Park transferred $585,000 of the remaining $1.3 million held in horsemen's accounts to Calder Race Course on June 6, Florida horsemen remain dissatisfied both with Hialeah's failure to transfer the entirety of the balance as well as the track's under-funding of the account.
Hialeah Park has transferred $585,000 of the remaining $1.3 million held in horsemen's accounts to Calder Race Course.
Directors of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have instructed their attorney to draft a formal letter of complaint to the State of Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering requesting that Hialeah Park's permit be pulled.
What may have been Hialeah Park's last live meet was reportedly its best ever.
The doors closed Tuesday on Hialeah Park's 75th -- and possibly its last – live racing meet. With legislation set to take effect on June 30 that discontinues the historic track's exclusive hold on spring racing dates, even the normally optimistic chairman of the board John J. Brunetti was forced to admit the likelihood that Hialeah has hosted its last live race. "By now you have heard that Hialeah Park will probably end its racing career with our last racing day, May 22," he wrote in an open letter printed in the track program, "This is sad, but true."
Hialeah Park may close for good when the historic South Florida racetrack ends its meet May 22. Efforts by track owner John Brunetti to restore the regulation of racing dates failed, so he said he'll start making plans to develop the property.
Bill Mott is not a bridge player. He's too busy, he says, overseeing the training of nearly 200 horses at multiple locations around the East Coast. But he well understands the concept of trumping his opponents. Take, for example, the April 21 Hialeah Turf Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) to which Mott nominated three runners.
In an April 17 letter to Hialeah chairman John Brunetti, Tom Meeker, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Inc., flatly denied allegations of collusion with Magna Entertainment Corp. in their filings for 2002 racing dates for their Florida properties. Churchill Downs owns Calder Race Course, and Magna Entertainment owns Gulfstream Park.
In the absence of a dates agreement between three Thoroughbred tracks in South Florida, Hialeah Park chairman John Brunetti has proposed a year-round, three-track schedule, and said Hialeah would allow Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park to have the first and second choices. There have been hints the current meet at historic Hialeah could be its last.
Fappie's Notebook rallied to beat General Grant by half-length Sunday in the $75,000 Seminole Handicap at Hialeah Park. Ridden by Abdiel Toribio, Fappie's Notebook ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.66 on the fast track and paid $6, $4.80, and $3.60.
Stronach Stables 2000 Eclipse champion turf mare Perfect Sting will make her first start of the year in the $200,000 Black Helen Handicap (gr. IIT) Saturday at Hialeah Park. A field of 10 fillies and mares will contest the 1 1/16 mile event.
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.
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