12/05/2009..The historic Hialeah Park in southern Florida will host a great group of 3 year old quarter horses Saturday afternoon in the trials to the $100,000 added, Hialeah Derby.. One of the world’s most beautiful racetracks, Hialeah Park first opened on January 25th 1925 and holds the distinction of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places and of being an Audubon Bird Sanctuary.. Built on the edge of the Florida Everglades, Hialeah Park for many years was a playground for the rich and famous, and treated thoroughbred racing fans to historic performances by some of the most famous racehorses in the world.. Host of the prestigious Flamingo Stakes, this stakes race first ran in 1926 and became one of the premier prep races for the Kentucky Derby..
..Previous winners include 1948 Triple Crown winner Citation, retiring with a career record of 27 wins and two seconds in 29 starts, he was immortalized in 1965 when his 5,955 pound bronze statue was unveiled on the grounds of Hialeah .. In 1957, the sire of Secretariat, and a stallion with an influence on quarter horse racing bloodlines, Bold Ruler won the Flamingo Stakes in track record time ..Northern Dancer, one of the greatest sires of all time, won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes after winning the Flamingo Stakes in 1964 and Seattle Slew won the Flamingo Stakes in 1977, before conquering all three Triple Crown races.. Other great horses to grace this track include Seabiscuit, War Admiral, Forego, Spectacular Bid, Alydar and John Henry..
..But its the Pink Flamingos of the Hialeah infield that have become the trademark of this storied racetrack.. Since their introduction to Hialeah Park in 1933, these exotic, colorful birds have flourished and the Hialeah infield is the only place the species has been successfully reproduced outside its wild state. For that reason, the infield area of the racetrack has been deemed a National Audubon Sanctuary.. The colony itself has been used as a way of spreading Flamingos throughout North America, with birds donated to zoos in Miami and St Louis, as well as to Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, California.. Unfortunately, after 7 decades of success, the track fell on hard times and closed after the last race was run on May 22nd 2001..But after 8 years of empty barns and silence in the grandstands, the flamingos have survived and the Florida state lawmakers have brought Hialeah back to life by clearing the way for the track to install slots after holding races for two calendar years. Hialeah is meeting that requirement by holding a 20 day race meet in November thru December, and another meet January thru February..
..So, this 2009 Hialeah Park Quarter Horse meet and Saturday’s Hialeah Derby trials have the colorful history of many great racedays behind them and are the result of the dedicated efforts of many people, including Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti, the Florida Legislators and the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association.. Here’s a few of the Hialeah Derby trial entrants hoping to add their names to the story of this historic track, Brookhiser, Vertical Vision, Spring Bling, Sixes Sign, Wild Choice, Little Surfer, Lady Streakin Leader and Fleet Hawk.. The ten fastest qualifiers will return to the South Florida track to contest the 440 yard final Saturday, December 19th… Looking forward to the success of Hialeah Park and the Florida Quarter Horse Racing industry…pictures courtesy of Hialeah Park.