Hialeah opens simulcast center
Grandstand refurbishment continues at Hialeah Park
Hialeah Park officials unveiled the latest step in refurbishing their 220-acre property: A spacious simulcast center and sports bar with 180 television screens.
Called “Champions,” the simulcast center is located on the grandstand’s second floor and features 54 betting carrels (each with a 19-inch video monitor), 42 wagering windows and space for 200 horseplayers. Hialeah Park offers wagering for such tracks as Aqueduct in New York, Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream. It is open daily except for Tuesdays.
Like about half of Hialeah Park’s grandstand, the simulcast center had been neglected since the facility stopped thoroughbred racing in 2001. Hialeah opened the north part of the grandstand for slots and poker more than two years ago, and will continue to refurbish other parts of the property, owner John Brunetti said.
“We want to make Hialeah a complete entertainment center,” he said, noting that ESPN boxing matches and concerts have already been staged recently at Hialeah.
Brunetti said he’d eventually like to add a shopping center and hotel. In the short term, he’s asking the state to allow him a license for the more glamorous thoroughbred racing, rather than the quarter horse races, which last about 25 seconds.
As I have written earlier, Hialeah was not part of the 2008 slot amendment that Miami-Dade voters approved. But in 2010 state legislators voted Hialeah in, and the maneuver survived a Florida Supreme Court challenge. The casino began slots in August 2013.
Brunetti bought the track in 1977 and closed it in 2001, saying there was too much horse racing competition.
Competitors Magic City Casino opened in October 2009, Calder Casino opened in January 2010, and Casino Miami started in January 2012.
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