03/18/2009 12:00AM

Hialeah gets racing permit

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Hialeah Park, which ceased operation after the 2001 season, has been granted a racing permit by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Racing to operate a Quarter Horse meet at the historic site.

The racing panel has received several other requests for Quarter Horse permits from tracks outside of south Florida, all of whom would need a racing license to operate slot machines at their facilities. Hialeah was specifically excluded from the referendum approved last year allowing parimutuel facilities in Dade County to install slot machines.

Although shuttered for nearly a decade, Hialeah Park remains a National Historic Landmark, housing, among other things, the famous pink flamingos who flew above the track each racing day. Major upgrades would be necessary to reopen the facility, whose grandstand and grounds have been weathered by age and inactivity over the years.