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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Flamingo Dreams

One of my favorite racetrack postcards is the one here, showing a flock of flamingos huddled together on a small island amidst Hialeah Park’s infield lake. Growing up in the snowy barrens of Western Pennsylvania (that would be akin to the Ninth Circle of Hell for you Dante aficionados), the sunny climate of Florida was a fantasy—palm trees swaying in a soft warm breeze, with sandy beaches and balmy waters. I’ll always associate Hialeah with the now-defunct Flamingo Stakes, the first time I really noticed a bay 3-year-old colt named Foolish Pleasure.

Last year, C-Net founder Halsey Minor began purchasing broodmare and racing stock, including the filly Dream Rush (for $3.3 million). This year he’s demonstrated a sincere interest in buying and restoring Hialeah to its former glory—without the presence of slots, an admirable dream and one that horse racing desperately needs as racinos increasingly marginalize the racing product. Unfortunately, the somewhat delusional current owner John Brunetti has rejected Mr. Minor’s recent proposal.

On Thursday, Halsey Minor is the guest on Blood Horse’s Talkin’ Horses Live Discussion. Submit your questions to him here. Here’s a man who could play a pivotal role in rejuvenating our sport—I’d love to hear his thoughts on many topics.