Florida Horseracing

Florida is known as the Horse Capital of the World, specifically Ocala and Marion County, where more than 400 thoroughbred farms and training centers are home to more than forty breeds of horses. Horseracing aficionados from all over the globe flock to Ocala for the Breeders Sale four times a year!

However, Florida horseracing started on shady grounds. In the 1920s, Tampa was a hotbed of “bolita”, an illegal but popular numbers game imported from Cuba and Americanized in Florida. Miami was packed with gambling houses. The city of Hialeah took root in 1924 on a remote swamp land and housed Hialeah Park, an illegal but bustling horseracing track.

Unfortunately, in 1926, protests from church groups and devastation from that year's hurricane forced Hialeah Park to close its racetrack for a time. But it reopened soon thereafter, albeit illegally.

By 1931, in the middle of the Depression, Florida passed legislation that legalized horse racing - marking the first time gambling was legitimized in the state. The measure passed by only one vote in the Senate but was vetoed by Gov. Doyle Carlton.

Today, Florida is home to three horseracing tracks, 22 poker rooms and eight tribal gaming casinos.

The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation within the Executive Branch of Florida's government oversees the regulation of Florida's pari-mutuel, cardroom, and slot gaming industries.

Florida Horseracing Track

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Horseracing Tracks