• The History of Hialeah Park

  • The history of Hialeah Park begins in 1922 when Missouri cattleman James Bright and aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss got together and founded the Miami Kennel Club as the first pari-mutuel greyhound track in America. By early 1925, the newly-renamed Hialeah Park had become a hotbed for thoroughbred racing on its one-mile dirt track.
     
    Throughout the years, Hialeah Park has hosted countless races and events, including the Flamingo Stakes and the Hialeah Turf Cup, featuring some of the sport’s most legendary names: Seabiscuit, Citation, Nashua, Bold Ruler, Forego, Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, and John Henry. World leaders such as Presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, as well as Winston Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, and others have all spent a day at the races, sometimes longer.
     
    A cavalcade of stars has also brought their glitz to the grounds: Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante, Elizabeth Taylor, Angie Dickinson, even Amelia Earhart stopped by before her famed last flight. A scene from the 1974 Academy Award-winning picture The Godfather, Part II was filmed here, the shot that established Michael Corleone’s arrival in Miami.  Same for Oscar-nominated / Golden Globe-winner The Champ (1978) and Let It Ride (1988).
     
    Hialeah Park is listed as an Audubon Bird Sanctuary and is recorded in the National Register of Historic Places; it is still home to the iconic flamingos, all original decedents of the birds imported from Cuba in 1934 by former owner Joseph Widener. Related to the heron family, the flamingo is a wading bird, preferring to live in shallow marshlands. Each spring, the birds nest on volcano-shaped mounds of clay built in a shallow pool on their infield lake. The colony has spread its wings throughout the U.S. in the form of donations to zoos in Miami and St. Louis, MO, and to Hollywood Park in Inglewood, CA.
     
    Fast forward to today: Hialeah Park is home to a state-of-the-art casino, which began operations in August of 2013. It features 800 Las Vegas-style slot machines, electronic roulette and blackjack, South Florida’s most popular poker room, several restaurants and cocktail lounges, and seasonal quarter horse racing. Champions Simulcast Center and Sports Bar, on the second floor of the iconic Clubhouse, is open year-round, offering bettors world-class horse racing action from across the United States.
     
    Newly redesigned space is available for weddings, quinces, and special events. The park’s vast outdoor space is also available for events. Soon will come a museum exhibiting the history of horse racing in south Florida, the creation of a trendy entertainment district anchored by a resort and spa hotel, office building and shopping center that will include restaurants, banks and other commercial ventures. And this is only the beginning—stay tuned.

    With entrances at 100 East 32nd Street and 2200 East 4th Avenue, Hialeah Park is easily accessible from all major Miami highways. The landmark venue is conveniently located just minutes by car from Miami International Airport, South Beach, Downtown Miami, Coral Gables, and Doral. 
     
    Learn more at www.HialeahPark.com or by calling 305.885.8000.
     

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