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During the auto racing off season, fans witness real horsepower at local tracks

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For the past several weeks, America’s biggest, most prestigious and successful Quarter Horse racing stables have been loading in to Miami-Dade’s famed Hialeah Park for its Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (FQHRA)-sanctioned 2013-2014 winter racing meet.

The FQHRA is the Florida Chapter of the American Quarter Horse Association, an international organization of nearly 350,000 members that regulates and sanctions accredited Quarter Horse racing (or “Q-Racing”) to ensure that animal welfare and integrity remain paramount to produce a quality racing product.

“We’ve got all our 830 stalls full, I’ve got some horsemen on hold, I’ve got others stabled at nearby training facilities, and even more who want to come,” Hialeah Park Racing Secretary Matt Crawford effused.

A former Texas horse racing official, Crawford has been busy recruiting accredited Quarter Horse racing stables and top trainers for the meet since he was hired by Hialeah Park earlier this year. “Our bigger stables are all coming back: Donnie Strickland, Charlton Hunt, Judd Kearl, Brandon Muniz, Gary Walker, Alfredo Gomez, Ron David, and Matt Frazier,” he said. “And most of them are bringing more horses.”

Hialeah Park’s fifth consecutive FQHRA meet has been described as its most successful and ambitious undertaking to date, and the upcoming 40-day program “ . . . will prove that Hialeah Park is a serious player and is working hard to establish a position of prominence in North American Quarter Horse racing,” Hialeah Park Owner and Chairman of the Board John J. Brunetti Sr. explained.

The facility showcases Florida horse racing, and broadcasts it's races internationally throughout the United States and across three separate continents on a daily basis. Throughout the live racing season, Hialeah Park will also be open for simulcast wagering seven days a week, day and night. Available simulcast tracks include Betfair Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, and many others.

For individuals who enjoy the thrill of live horse racing, but don't want to travel all the way to Hialeah to partake in the sport, Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, the "Winter Capital of Harness Racing," has been the home of world-class standardbred racing since 1964, providing a picturesque South Florida destination for top-ranked trotters and pacers, and award-winning trainers and drivers.

Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park currently offers Live Harness Racing Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings, with the first post at 7:05 p.m. Look close enough, and you may find your favorite motorsports examiner viewing the events at the track, hoping that his horse will finally come in!

Of course, wherever you live there's bound to be a racetrack nearby, with eager horses, jockeys, and more all waiting to compete for fame, glory, and a few extra dollars. As they say, be sure to support your local racetrack. These facilities are an important part of our nation's history, and deserve our continued support to ensure that they will exist and thrive for many generations to come.

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