Hialeah Enjoys Record-Breaking Season
Hialeah meet closes with positive numbers.
February 26, 2014
Hialeah Park, the South Florida racing mecca known as “the world’s most beautiful race course,” embarked on arguably its most ambitious season of live Quarter Horse racing less than three months ago when it lifted the lid on a 40-day stakes-rich schedule on November 29.
When the curtain finally dropped Sunday, February 23, on the 2013-14 campaign, the fifth Quarter Horse season since live racing returned to this historic venue in late 2009, Hialeah Park finished up with a record-setting closing day all-sources mutuel handle of $513,000.
“We ended up breaking the all-sources mutuel total record three times during the season,” said Director of Simulcasting Peter Aiello, adding, “We handled more on-track February 23 ($110,593) than any other day since the very first day of live Quarter Horse racing here in 2009.”
“Much of the credit goes to all of our in-state and out-of-state simulcast partners for their continued support of our racing product. The addition of Twinspires.com and expanded coverage and increase market awareness via TVG powered us to a very successful season. We saw a distinct pick up in business when we moved back to a more traditional east coast starting time of 12:35 PM,” Aiello commented.
When the final mutuel numbers were crunched, Hialeah Park handled just under $10,000,000 in wagers from all sources over the 40-day season, averaging close to $244,000 per day.
Total handle for the season increased by $4,723,394.07 (94.18 percent) over the 31-day 2012-13 campaign and the average daily handle was up by 50.49 percent.
Hialeah Park Vice President & General Manager Randy Soth, a veteran racing executive in South Florida, viewed the mutuel statistics and the track’s increased presence in the simulcasting marketplace as significant steps forward.
“The largest positive for the meet had to be increased simulcast levels, both inbound and outbound," Soth said. "I give credit and thanks to Peter Aiello for all his hard work, particularly on the outbound, and both him and Director of Mutuels John Gantz for all their attention to our import signals.”
Soth stated that he and Hialeah Park executives, both in the racing and marketing departments, are already in the process of improving on the gains of 2013-14, “Ideally, we will be able to come up with some new initiatives that will satisfy our horsemen and entertain our fans. Our goal is to continue to strive for initiatives or concepts that will improve the Hialeah experience for our horsemen and our patrons, while elevating our status in the racing community.”
Hialeah Park entered the 2013-14 Quarter Horse meet venturing into uncharted waters after the sudden passing of longtime Director of Racing/Racing Secretary Sam Abbey shortly after the end of last season.
But Soth believes the man chosen to fill Abbey’s position, Matt Crawford, stepped into the role strongly and will move the Hialeah Park racing program forward again next season, “Matt moved into a difficult position taking over for Sam (Abbey),” he said, “But he and his staff did a fine job with the overnight program and our ambitious stakes schedule, including the new and popular Hialeah Marathon Series.”
Crawford presided over a Hialeah Park racing program that offered 342 races and just over $5 million in total purse money during the 2013-14 season. The stakes program was highlighted by the December 29, 2013 Hialeah Futurity (combining the Hialeah Laddie and Hialeah Lassie futurities) which offered a total purse of $406,955.
“I believe the quality of horses competing at Hialeah Park was on the improve all season long,” Crawford said. “It is promising to be looking forward to next year and I believe this season has generated the opportunities to recruit some new horsemen to come to Florida for the 2014-15 meet.”
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