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.
"It shows that we're still in the game," said track chairman John Brunetti Sr., who will continue efforts to renew legislation to grant Hialeah unopposed racing dates. "We still have a number of horsemen who appreciate Hialeah, and until we make a decision whether to permanently discontinue racing, it is a way of making revenue."
Historically, the track's 1,600 stalls have been occupied by horses who fill races at Hialeah and at Gulfstream Park, which is located about 20 miles to the north. But Brunetti indicated that Gulfstream's parent company, Magna Entertainment, has communicated to him it is "not interested" in using Hialeah as a training annex.
"My sons have convinced me that this is not a tragic situation, because if we are unable to get an equitable division of unopposed dates, we have a property that is in great demand for other development," Brunetti said.
A decision on Hialeah's fate would be made following the legislative session next spring, Brunetti said.
Meanwhile, Hialeah vice president John Van Lindt said the decision to keep the facility open for training has been well-received. "Horsemen have always found this a great place to train their horses," he said. "Interest has been very high again for this year."