Hialeah: Saved the Best for Last?

What may have been Hialeah Park's last live meet was reportedly its best ever. The historic South Florida racetrack reported double digit increases in total handle, on-track and inter-track wagering, and out-of-state handle.

Total handle for the 61-day meet rose 18% to $262,116,875 compared with 1999, the last year Hialeah Park ran its dates on its home turf. In 2000, the Hialeah dates were run at Gulfstream Park.
The on-track and inter-state simulcasting handle increased 13% to $59,333,594, up from $52,430,038 in 1999. Out-of-state wagering on Hialeah races soared 25% to $158,759,547 compared with 1999 when $127,058,824 in wagers came from outside Florida.

General manager Richard Sacco attributed the strong performance to the high-quality horses the meet attracted, such as A P Valentine, Del Mar Show, Albert the Great, and Perfect Sting.

The meet may have been Hialeah's last because the state legislation that provide exclusive racing dates expires on July 1. Gulfstream Park and Calder have already requested dates that overlap with most of Hialeah's current dates. A state representative from the city of Hialeah tried postponing the deregulation of racing dates but was unsuccessful. Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti has not given up hope.

"It's not over yet," he said May 23, Hialeah's last day of live racing.