10/27/2009 11:00PM

Hialeah gets permit for meet


Hialeah Park in south Florida has received a permit from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to hold a 40-day Quarter Horse meet beginning on Nov. 28, according to documents provided by the division.

The meet will restore live racing to Hialeah Park for the first time since 2001, when Hialeah held its last Thoroughbred meet. The track will hold 40 days of Quarter Horse racing through Feb. 2 of next year on a Saturday-through-Tuesday schedule, according to the documents.

Earlier this year, the Florida legislature passed a bill giving Hialeah Park the right to operate slot machines if it held two 20-day race meets in consecutive years. The slot-machine provision, however, and other aspects of the legislation hinged on a separate agreement between the state and the Seminole Indian tribe that has not yet been resolved, and it is still unclear if Hialeah will be able to open the casino in 2011 without additional action by the state legislature.

According to correspondence between the division and Hialeah, the track's 40-day race meet spanning 2009 and 2010 will satisfy the requirement that the track run two 20-day meets in consecutive years.

John Brunetti Sr., the managing partner of the company that owns Hialeah, closed the track eight years ago. He has said recently that the track's partners will spend $10 million on Hialeah's reopening.