Hialeah Park

Hialeah Park

Tom LaMarra

Hialeah May Shake Up South Florida Dates

The track indicated it plans to race weekends in April and May in 2013.

Gulfstream Park and Calder Casino & Race Course have picked their racing dates for the 12 months between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013—with no overlap. However, that situation in southeast Florida could be changed due to what appears to be an effort by Hialeah Park to return to Thoroughbred racing,

In its final date filing Feb. 28, with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, Hialeah listed 11 dates in April 2013 and nine dates in May 2013—all on weekends when Calder also plans to run. Hialeah officials were not available Feb. 28 to talk about whether the track plans Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred races on those dates.

Under its Quarter Horse permit, Hialeah can have as many as half its races as Thoroughbred races. Its preliminary filing showed 32 dates from December 2012 to February 2013 in what has been its Quarter Horse season since 2009-10. Hialeah has not held Thoroughbred races since 2001.

In a final filing submitted Feb. 27 to the Florida DPMW, Gulfstream said it will open its 2012-13 meet Dec. 1 and have 87 racing days through April 5. Calder’s final filing has it ending its 2012 season Nov. 30 and opening its 2013 season April 6.

In preliminary filings, both tracks said they would race the Dec. 1-2, 2012, and April 6-7, 2013 weekends. In early February, Calder officials and Gulfstream officials told The Blood-Horse they expected to amend their filings and avoid head-to-head racing.

Since 2002 Florida Thoroughbred tracks have picked their own dates—in contrast to the previous system in which state regulators awarded dates.