FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LIVE RACING BACK AT HIALEAH PARK FRIDAY NOVEMBER 29 AS TRACK OPENS MOST AMBITIOUS QH MEET
Hialeah, FL / November 25, 2013 – Live Quarter Horse racing returns to Hialeah Park –“The World’s Most Beautiful Race Course”– on Friday November 29, 2013 as this historic racing venue kicks off its 2013-14 meeting.
Post time for the opening day program is set for 12:35 pm ET, which will be the standard starting time all season long. Parking and admission, as always, are free of charge.
Hialeah Park will typically offer live Quarter Horse racing Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between November 29, 2013 and February 23, 2014.
Exceptions to the regular schedule include two Monday afternoon programs, set for January 20 and February 17. Then, on closing weekend, Hialeah Park will not offer racing on Friday February 21 and will end the meet with racing on Saturday February 22 and Sunday February 23.
By all standards, the new session –the 5th season of Quarter Horse racing at Hialeah Park– will be the most ambitious undertaking since live horse racing returned to the iconic South Florida landmark in late 2009.
The 2013-14 calendar features 40 racing days, the most ever for a Quarter Horse season at Hialeah Park. The schedule includes 27 stakes races offering total purse money of over $1,200,000. The stakes schedule is highlighted by the $500,000 (estimated) Hialeah Futurity for two-year-olds on December 29, a race that includes $200,000 in added money.
“The Hialeah Futurity will become a ‘signature race’ like our Flamingo Stakes was for Thoroughbred racing, a race that both horsemen and fans alike will identify with Hialeah Park,” said Hialeah Park Owner & Chairman of the Board John J. Brunetti, Sr. “This futurity will prove that Hialeah Park is a serious player and is working hard to establish a position of prominence in North American Quarter Horse racing.”
The new racing season will be the first at Hialeah Park for Racing Secretary Matt Crawford, who takes over for the late Sam Abbey. Crawford, a native of Arlington, TX, has extensive experience in both Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing. Since 1997, he has served as Assistant Racing Secretary at Lone Star Park in Texas.
Crawford has trained both breeds in California and Louisiana and he has also had stints as a horse identifier for Lone Star Park and the Fasig-Tipton sales company.
The “new man in town” hit the ground running when he arrived at Hialeah Park, and he’s enthusiastic about how the 2013-14 season is shaping up.
“It’s looking good,” Crawford said. “On paper, we’ve got all our 830 stalls full, I’ve got some horsemen on hold, I’ve got others stabled at nearby training facilities, and even more who want to come.”
“That’s a dramatic improvement. Last year, for example, we had just over 600 horses on the grounds. It looks bigger that it has been since the first season.
Crawford has been busy recruiting stables and trainers for the meet since he was hired earlier this year. “Our bigger stables are all coming back: Donnie Strickland, Charlton Hunt, Judd Kearl, Brandon Muniz, Gary Walker, Alfredo Gomez, Ron David, and Matt Frazier,” he said. “And most of them are bringing more horses.”
The 2013-14 season will also mark a return to Hialeah Park for top-tier jockey Oscar Delgado, who is the all-time leader in Quarter Horse victories at this track with 97.
Delgado did not ride at Hialeah Park last season after moving his base of operations to Maryland. He worked with Thoroughbreds at Sagamore Farm and rode in Thoroughbred races at Charles Town.
Delgado was a runaway winner of the riding title at Hialeah Park in 2010-11 and he finished second in the standings to Alex Baldillez, Jr. in 2011-12.
“It’s great to be back! I love Florida and Hialeah Park,” Delgado said. “When I showed up to work my first morning back, all the horsemen welcomed me with open arms. I am looking forward to winning plenty of races.”
Delgado already has high praise for the race track after working a handful of runners over the surface. “It’s in excellent shape. The horses are traveling well over the track and it looks real good.”
During the live racing season, Hialeah Park will also be open for simulcast wagering seven days a week, day and night. Available simulcast tracks include Betfair Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, and many others.