The Good Times and the Bad
The Hialeah Park Race Track goes by many names, including the Miami Jockey Club and, simply, Hialeah Park. This race park is one of the oldest of its kind not only in the state of Florida, but across the entire United States. Hialeah Park was founded back in 1922 by Glenn Curtis and James H. Bright, who made their fortunes in aviation and cattle respectively. Over the years this track hosted many big names, from horses such as the legendary Seabiscuit and War Admiral, to the historic punters that bet on them, including Winston Churchill, JFK and Harry S. Truman.
The racetrack changed hands many times over the years and was even listed as a historic site, but at the start of the new millennium this remarkable venue lost its racing license and, in 2001, hosted its final race. Despite falling on hard times, there was life in the old dog yet and Hialeah Park remerged a few years later. These days Hialeah Park is once again one of the most exciting and action-packed resorts in the state. It now has a license for slot machines and continues to be the best source of racing in Florida.
The Sport of Kings
Horse racing is the main feature at Hialeah Park and you won’t find a better experience anywhere else. Not only is there a free and spacious car park outside of the race track, but entry is also free, which means you have more money to gamble once inside. Hialeah Park caters for all ages and is great for a family day out, so feel free to bring your kids. The gate opens at 11 am and you can check the day’s racing schedule once inside. There are big races run here throughout the year, including the Salfish Stakes, the Sam Abbey Memorial Invitational Championship and the South Florida Quarter Horse Derby, with big name runners such as Feature My News, Freaking, Joltin Jess and Mr Commando.
The Bright Lights
If slot machines are more your thing then head inside and take your pick from a huge number of glittering, enticing machines. The Diamond Lotto is a new and high-tech machine with an arcade feel, offering players the chance to win huge prizes with a single pull; Wheel of Fortune lets you test your luck in a stylized version of America’s favorite game show; and Mouse Game is another classic game with a cute little twist. There are also games based on TV shows, films and more, most of which come with bonus rounds and progressive jackpots.
If you want something a little less luck-based, Hialeah Park also hosts a number of electronic games. These games are brand new to the casino world and feature banks of touch screens surrounding a roulette wheel or a blackjack table. Just take your seat, pay your money and concentrate on your screen. Just like the slot machines, these are single-player games, but unlike the slot machines whether you win or lose is based on a centerpiece (such as a wheel or a table) that all other players are also banking on. All the dealers and the cards are electronic and these games provide the perfect alternative for anyone who wants to keep themselves to themselves and play their own game.
If you spend a lot of time on the casino floor then it’s worth joining the Hialeah Park Player’s Club. This VIP club is based on a three tier system, where the more you play the more points you earn and the higher your status will be. Pink level members can redeem their points for free plays and can also take part in promotions and competitions, whereas Black level members get the true VIP treatment with special seating, valet parking and exclusive entry to a number of tournaments and events.
Ace up Their Sleeve
Hialeah is also a great place to play some poker, with their plush and comfortable poker room and assortment of guaranteed tournaments and other promotions. Hialeah Park runs tournaments throughout the year, with at least one per day. These tournaments typically cost between $40 and $120 to buy-in and the guaranteed prizes go as high as $10.000. If you scoop the big one in any of the monthly tournaments you will also be entered into a Players of the Month tournament at the end of the month, where a guaranteed pot of $7.000 awaits the winners.
If you get peckish, restaurants in the casino serve up Mediterranean food, Cuban food, American food and seafood, all of which is freshly cooked on the premises. There is also no shortage of entertainment, with musician Willy Chirino performing regularly in the resort.
Hialeah Park Race Track is more than just a venue or a place to gamble, it is the beating heart of the state and has provided entertainment for Floridians for many decades. Hialeah Park has featured in a number of Hollywood films, from the Oscar winning Godfather II, to Golden Globe winner The Champ and 80’s flickLet It Ride. Hialeah Park is part of the culture and the history of this area and with the recent renovation work— and the ongoing changes that strive to make this one of the biggest and best gambling venues in the country—Hialeah Park is sure to be here for many years to come.