Hialeah Park Race Track
Backstory and Context
Hialeah was known for much more than thoroughbred racing as, in addition to the horse track, Bright and Curtis included a jai-alai fronton, again, the first to open its doors in the US, a roller coaster and a dance hall in 1925. Unfortunately, much of the park was destroyed by a hurricane in 1926. It was then sold to Joseph Widener in 1930 who added a new grandstand, clubhouse and gardens, complete with flamingos and reopened in 1932.
The complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and attained National Landmark Status in 1988. Its confines have been graced by such figures as Winston Churchill, President Harry Truman, Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra and such horses as Seabiscuit, Citation, Bold Ruler and Seattle Slew have thundered around its track.
Due to fierce competition with other tracks, Hialeah again closed its doors in 2001 and reopened them in 2009. It has since added a casino, with slots and a poker room, various dining venues and lounges. The 200 acre complex is currently undergoing a phased, $60 million renovation with plans to add a resort hotel, convention center and other amenities.