Horsemen Want Hialeah to Forward Funds

The failure of Hialeah Park to forward funds from the horsemen's account to Calder Race Course was at issue June 2 at a special meeting of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. Board directors instructed attorney Bruce Green to draft a formal letter of complaint to Paul Kirsch, director of the State of Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, requesting that Hialeah's permit be pulled.

Of the approximately $5.3 million held in horsemen's accounts at the conclusion of the Hialeah meet May 22, only $4 million was forwarded to Calder.

"The funds should have been transferred within five days," said Florida HBPA president Linda Mills, who is encouraging individual horsemen to complain directly to Kirsch. "This is affecting everybody at every level."

Among those most affected was owner/trainer Jacob Ashor, who had his only horse claimed away during the final days of the Hialeah meet. Though his account balance was more than $18,000, Ashor was unable to claim horse for $16,000 at Calder because only two-thirds of his money was transferred.

"How can they hold my money?" Ashor asked. "We all supported the track and ran until the end, and now they do this."

The account, which moves from track to track, includes funds deposited by horsemen to claim horses, payment for horses claimed away, and purses earned.

Hialeah officials couldn't be reached for comment.