Florida QHRA Set For Hialeah Park Meet

Meet scheduled to open December 15.

October 12, 2012


The Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and Hialeah Park have set the schedule for the 2012-13 American Quarter Horse meet at the historic track in Hallandale, near Miami.

The meet – Hialeah’s fourth since 2009 – will have 30 days of Quarter Horse racing, with eight races on each of three days of racing for 10 weeks and purses averaging $120,000 per day. The barns open December 1 and the meet begins December 15.

The meet marks Hialeah’s first major stakes restricted to accredited Florida-breds, the $30,000-added Sunshine State Derby for foals of 2010. The Sunshine State Derby will be February 16, 2013, with trials January 25. In 2015, the track will conduct the $200,000-guaranteed Sunshine State Futurity for accredited Florida-bred foals of 2013.

There are three $100,000-added stakes and one $50,000 stakes this December. In addition to the Sunshine Derby, Hialeah in February will have a $100,000-added stakes and the $75,000-guaranteed Hialeah Invitational Championship. As in previous seasons, there also will be multiple overnight stakes.

For owners and breeders at the upcoming meet, accredited Florida-breds will earn 20 percent more purse money than open horses, and 50 percent of the races will be accredited Florida-breds preferred.

FQHRA was organized in 2005. According to the organization’s agreement with Hialeah, the meets in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 each will comprise 40 days of racing over 10 weeks, with purses of $140,000 per day. According to track owner and general manager John Brunetti, Hialeah’s casinos should be in operation by June 2013.

“We want people to know that Hialeah is right on track where it’s supposed to be,” said FQHRA President Dr. Steve Fisch, who owns AVS Equine Hospital in Tallahassee. “Purses are going up next year. We’ve got this year and three more years of the contract after this year.”

Dr. Fisch also addressed the drug scandals that have rocked the industry in recent months. Florida is being proactive in its policies on the abuse of unauthorized medications, he said. Florida DBPR/Department of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has stated that they have directed the University of Florida drug lab to test for dermorphine, Zilpaterol, Ractopamine and clenbuterol and a host of other medications and drugs. They have directed that clenbuterol levels be tested to at least 1-2 pcg/ml of blood. A horse on clenbuterol must be pulled off the medication at least 21 days to meet these testing levels. All other medications and drugs will be tested and penalized at least as severe as ARCI guidelines. Hialeah is using the state of Florida’s clenbuterol testing levels and the ARCI drug guidelines in their 2012/2013 house rules.

“AQHA and FQHRA, as the AQHA racing affiliate for Florida, stand behind the Hialeah house rules and the state of Florida DBPR rules,” Dr. Fisch said. “Florida is a ‘Just say no to drugs’ state. We have had many trainers and owners call and say they are glad Florida is a state that has strict drug and medication laws and rules. Stricter medication rules are causing a shakeup in the industry, but that shakeup and added regulations were caused by people abusing the system. In the short run and long run, the states that are adopting strict medication rules and laws and then actually sticking with them will help keep horse racing safe and healthy both for the horses and people associated with them. The health and welfare of the horse should always be uppermost in everyone’s mind as we care and race these magnificent animals.

“We look forward to seeing the owners and trainers who have raced at Hialeah since the inaugural 2009 meet and we look forward to many new faces who say they are coming because the racing will be fair and safe,” he concluded. “FQHRA commends AQHA on its recent tough stance on medication and drug abuse. If you haven’t made plans to come to Hialeah for the upcoming meet, please check out our website www.fqhra.com. There is still time to enter the major stakes races without a big penalty. The next payment date is Monday, October 15. There should be plenty of racing opportunities for all the horses that come this year.”