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2014 Horse Racing Meet Applications

Following a public hearing held on October 24, 2013, four tracks presented plans and requested race days pursuant to law. The process requires the four Michigan tracks (applicants/licensees) to request dates and have a contract with a certified horseman’s association for horse supply and other operating agreements. The contracts necessary between some of the certified horsemen’s organizations were yet unsigned. MHHA had a contract that spans 2014 with Northville Downs and Hazel Park which did not specify any number of race days.

Hazel Park and Northville Downs expressed a desire to race thoroughbreds in 2014 as part of their requested dates. MHHA was not in agreement that Hazel Park split the days they requested with the thoroughbreds.

The Executive Director urged all sides to come to an agreement as to the race schedule that coincided with the tracks’ requested dates, the intent being the maximization of live race date opportunities for the entire industry. The Executive Director can only act on the applicant’s, request not those of other parties.

On multiple occasions we encouraged the licensees to get together with the certified horseman groups to work out differences and a solution to allow all groups an opportunity to race at Hazel Park and Northville Downs. The Executive Director delayed signing the final amended orders multiple times at the request of the MHHA leadership to allow for additional negotiations.

All tracks were granted the number of race days they requested. Northville and Hazel Park were granted breed-neutral days at their request in order to offer both harness and thoroughbred racing. Race dates requested and approved are: 42 days at Hazel Park; 26 days at Northville Downs; 16 at Mt. Pleasant Meadows; and 11 at Sports Creek.

Further noted; the contracts signed by the MHHA and the HBPA are between the respective organizations and the tracks. The gaming board does not interfere with those contracts agreed upon between the parties as long as their outlined activity is consistent with the Racing Act. To order a licensee to vary from their agreed upon contract is not in practice or within the scope of our authority.