On June 28, 1933 Governor William A. Comstock signs the law legalizing horse racing with wagering.
On September 2, 1933 the Governor and over 20,000 racing fans are at opening day at the Detroit Fair Grounds track located at the State Fairgrounds.
"Mayco" wins the first race and pari-mutuel horse racing in Michigan is made 'Official' when the 10-1 longshot pays $22 to winning ticket holders.
At the close of the 31 day meet in 1933 over 100,000 fans had bet more than $3.5 million on the Thoroughbred races at the Detroit Fair Grounds.
Through the 1930's the Detroit Fair Grounds track was the 'only show in town' when it came to holding extended race meetings.
The great Seabiscuit turned his career around at the Detroit Fair Grounds, with a new owner, trainer and jockey he won 2 Detroit handicaps. He went on to beat War Admiral in a two-horse match race, called by many "the greatest race ever" and then became a national hero.
Three new tracks and the start of pari-mutuel Harness racing.
Northville Downs opens in September 1944 as the first Michigan track, and one of the first tracks in the U.S., to present night Harness racing.
Jackson Harness Raceway opens in 1948 and in 1949 presents the first extended night Harness racing outside the Detroit area.
Hazel Park Race Track opens in 1949 as the first 5/8th mile Thoroughbred track in the U.S.
Racing ends at the Detroit Fair Grounds track after the 1949 Thoroughbred season and the operators pledge to build a new track in the Detroit area.
The Michigan Mile, which would become Michigan's premier Thoroughbred race, had a quiet debut in 1949 at the Detroit Fair Grounds track.
The Detroit Race Course (DRC) opens in 1950 and Livonia Township becomes the city of Livonia to qualify for revenue from the new track.
Also in 1950, the DRC becomes Michigan's first track to hold extended race meets for two racing breeds; Thoroughbred-60 days and Harness-39 nights.
Hazel Park began running two breeds in 1953, with a new 33 night Harness meet added to its 57 days of Thoroughbred racing.
A new Racing Law of 1959 replaced the original 1933 Racing Act.
The new law limited the Detroit area to the three tracks that operated in Northville, Hazel Park and Livonia. This limit would remain until 1995.
The pari-mutuel horse racing industry had grown steadily since 1933 and by the end of the 1960's there were:
four tracks compared to one - up 300%
415 racing days compared to 31 - up 1,240%
3 million in yearly attendance compared to 101 thousand - up 2,900%
$260 million wagered yearly compared to $3.5 million - up 7,300%
$20 million in State revenue compared to $123 thousand - up 16,000%
According to an annual national poll of attendance at different sporting events horse racing remained the No. 1 spectator sport in the country.
Michigan-bred Thoroughbred Bass Clef finished 3rd in the 1961 Kentucky Derby, the best finish ever by a Michigan-bred horse in that classic.
Total attendance of over 3.9 million fans for 1971 sets the record for Michigan horse racing, with 60 more Thoroughbred dates and 78 more Harness dates.
May 1972 voters allow a state lottery which started sales in November and pari-mutuel horse racing lost its monopoly on legal wagering held since 1933.
Bea Farber wins the 1973 Northville Downs driving title becoming the first woman to accomplish that at any Michigan track.
Sunday racing is authorized in 1974.
Glendale Downs, near Hillsdale, opens in 1977, after Quarter Horse wagering is legalized in 1976. It's the first new pari-mutuel track to be licensed since 1950.
Jockey Steve Cauthen rode at Hazel Park on Sunday, July 10, 1977, drew over 18,000 fans and caused the only $2 million betting day in the track's history.
Saginaw Valley Downs opens June 16, 1980 and becomes the first new Harness track to open since 1950.
The Racing Law of 1980 is signed by Governor William G. Milliken on December 12 1980, with immediate effect, tracks make changes that day.
The first Governor's Conference on the Michigan Horse Industry is held June of 1982. The industry is recognized as an important part of agriculture.
The 50th Anniversary of Michigan pari-mutuel racing is celebrated on September 10, 1983 and Horse of the Year awards are established.
The Detroit Race Course is sold to the Ladbroke of England and in 1985 becomes an all Thoroughbred track and Hazel Park becomes all Harness.
Mount Pleasant Meadows track opens for mixed breed racing in June 1985, after Glendale Downs cannot open to use its 1985 dates.
Sports Creek Raceway, near Flint, is granted a track license and opens for all Harness racing in November 1986, as the first new track built since 1950
Ladbroke DRC holds the state's first simulcast of the 1987 Kentucky Derby and racing fans can legally wager on the race while at the Michigan track.
Muskegon Race Course opened in May 1989 for an all Harness racing meet, this made Michigan unique in U.S. racing with two tracks built within 3 years.
Julie Krone, a Michigan native who rode at the county fairs, becomes the first woman jockey to ride and win one of the Triple Crown Races, 93's Belmont.
The Racing Law of 1995 is passed and signed by Governor Engler, re-titling the law and authorizing full-card simulcasting for Michigan tracks.
The first full-card simulcast occurs on January 30, 1996 at Ladbroke DRC and all Michigan tracks are offering full-card simulcasting by the summer of 1996.
Total wagering for 1996 increases 50% over 1995 due to full-card simulcasting allowing all Michigan tracks to be open for the entire year.
Muskegon Race Course suddenly closes on May 19, 1997 after running only 6 days of its live Harness racing.
Ladbroke DRC is sold for land development, had its last day of live racing on November 8, 1998 and closed completely at year's end after 49 years.
The Muskegon Race Course is bought, rebuilt, renamed Great Lakes Downs and opened in April 1999, giving the state Thoroughbred industry a place to race.
In January 2000 the Magna International Corporation was approved to purchase Great Lakes Downs and make it the sixth Thoroughbred track owned by the growing Magna racing subsidiary.
On August 7, 2000, Michigan's Julie Krone became the first woman jockey (or trainer) ever inducted into the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame. Her record included:
Winningest woman rider of all time with 3,545 wins
Riding 20,481 mounts that earned over $81 million
Only woman rider to win a Triple Crown race with Colonial Affair, 1993.
Co-holder for most victories on a card, five, at Saratoga in 1993
American Paint Horses were authorized to race, and on September 23, 2000, Cool Colors became the first Paint to win a race at Mount Pleasant Meadows.
June 2007 celebrates the first, "June is Michigan Horse Racing Month"
November 2007, Great Lakes Downs closes its doors for the final time.
In 2007, the six Michigan licensed horse race tracks presented a combined 1,909 days of live and simulcast pari-mutuel racing during 2006. Over 1.1 million fans attended the races and wagered $281.2 million that generated over $9 million in state tax revenue.
Membership Meeting. Friday September 1, 2017 at Hazel Park. Free BBQ for Mi-HBPA members. Get BBQ tickets from the HBPA office (must have license). BBQ available at paddock BBQ area from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM on September 1.
This letter is to urge your membership to submit their application for occupational licenses prior to the start of live racing. Applications for occupational licenses are available several ways:
• On line at www.michigan.qov/mgcb
On the left select "Horse Racing", and then select "Forms". • On the Horse Racing Forms page select "Licensing Racing Forms", and download the appropriate application (Occupational License Form). • Once the application is completed the applicant may email the application to horseracinq (a~michigan.gov or mail it to MGCB Horse Racing 3062 West Grand Boulevard, Suite L-700 Detroit, MI 48202-6062 • If payment is included a License Fee Receipt will be mailed or emailed back to the applicant. If no fees are sent with the application the receipt will not be given until all fees are received.
At the tracks: Northville Downs Prior to the start of live racing the MGCB licensing office will be open starting Tuesday, January 31St The licensing office will be open each Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:30am to 2:30pm. Starting February 28'h and during live racing the licensing office will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30am to 2:30pm, and Friday and Saturday from 1:30pm to 8:30pm. These dates and times will remain in effect until the start of the dual race meets. Licensing dates and times during the dual race meets will be announced at a later date. Northville Downs Licensing Office Telephone # (248) 349-5458 Fax # (248) 349-9139 Hazel Park Raceway MGCB Licensing office will open on April 4th, times and schedule will be announced later.
Administrative Rule R 431.1101(1) allows an occupational license applicant to enter restricted areas of a race track for a period of time not to exceed more than 10 days after filing of a license application, and if the applicant possesses a License Fee Receipt. Each applicant will receive their License Fee Receipt when submitting their occupational license with appropriate fee payment. The applicant must return to the licensing office 6 to 10 days after the application submission to retrieve their valid license. Entrance into the restricted areas of the race track will not be permitted after the 10 days with only a License Fee Receipt.
Possession of the License Fee Receipt or wearing of a valid license will be strictly enforced by track security and MGCB personnel.
If you have any questions on this letter please feel free to contact the MGCB.
Why is SB 504 necessary? The horse racing industry has changed dramatically since the current Horse Racing Act was first passed in 1995. The industry has gone from a high of eight (8) tracks in 1995 to only two (2) tracks today. One track is in Hazel Park, a track that today runs Thoroughbred horses. A second track is in Northville a track that runs harness (Standardbred) horses.
The current outdated statute is killing the industry by maintaining a purse distribution formula which, in effect, subsidizes one entity at the expense of the other. This problem is so egregious that in 2015, Northville Downs (the recipient of the subsidy) was able to extend its season by two months and Hazel Park was forced to end its season two months early. In no other situation does the State of Michigan require one business to subsidize another in this manner. This should not continue.
SB 504 would eliminate the unintended subsidization and bring a more market-based approach to the Act by allowing revenues to be “site specific” as opposed to “pooled”. This gets government out of the way and allows the two entities – a track and a certified horseman’s organization (CHO) – to negotiate the business terms that will allow both to prosper.
Further, the current Act contains a number of sections that are outdated and no longer applicable. Under former Governor Granholm, the Office of Racing Commission was eliminated and regulatory authority was moved to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The changes in SB 504, provides much needed clarification and flexibility to the industry that is necessary considering this regulatory change.
In what other ways does SB 504 modernize the Horse Racing Act? Currently, the Act contains language that specifies when a track may race based on a city’s population. This language is no longer applicable for today’s industry and has been removed. In addition, SB 504 provides more flexibility between the CHO and a track to determine best business practices and not the regulators.
If SB 504 were to pass, how much would each CHO receive? Currently under the Horse Racing Act, the formula divides the purse revenue in the following way:
65% to the Harness CHO
35% to the Thoroughbred CHO. (The Thoroughbred CHO also includes, Quarter Horses, Arabians, Paints and Appaloosa breeds.)
The following amounts are based on the 2015 simulcast wagering numbers. If SB 504 was in effect for the 2015 racing season, the simulcast revenue to each racing CHO under a ‘site specific’ model as proposed in SB 504 would have been:
Site specific: Hazel TBs NV Harness $2,900,000 $2,300, 000 ( The ‘site specific’ numbers are based on track reports ending December 30, 2015.)
In addition, the Harness horsemen have a specific line item in the Ag Equine Industry Development Fund (AEIDF) that supports harness racing at 11 county fairs. This funding is in addition
to what they receive from the current simulcast purse pool distribution. SB 504 will NOTchange the fair money distribution. Below is the current appropriated amount:
Fair money for Harness racing purses: $708,000 (Source is from the Agriculture Equine Industry Development Fund, Fairs/licensed track line item). These funds are in addition to the $2,300,000 the Harness horsemen receive from simulcast revenue.
The following is the actual
2015 purse fund distribution under the current Act:
Hazel Thoroughbreds: $2,268,416
Northville Harness: $2,824,379 plus $708,000 Fairs: Total $3,532,379
( The actual 2015 purse numbers are from the 2015 Deposit Summary Report produced by the Michigan Harness Horsemen Association. The Deposit Summary Report does not reflect revenue earned in 2015 but recorded in 2016.)
What is the total simulcast amount wagered at each track? The 2015 simulcast wagering totals for each track are:
Hazel Park Raceway: $56,604,693
Northville Downs: $45,016,606
Does SB 504 protect live racing? Yes. Live racing at Michigan’s two licensed race tracks is the backbone of the state’s equine industry. SB 504 requires that for a track to offer simulcast wagering, they must have a minimum of 30 live racing days. This is critical to the survival of Michigan’s horsemen and women.
Why should we care about the Michigan Horse Racing industry? The 2012 Ag Census data shows that there are nearly 100,000 equine across Michigan. The equine industry is a significant economic generator of the overall Ag industry. Horse racing in Michigan is a big business, unfortunately under Michigan’s current structure many of the horsemen and women race in other states, particularly Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. SB 504 would help the Michigan’s racing industry modernize and continue to support Michigan hay farmers, veterinarians, breeding farms, grooms, tack suppliers and many other jobs.
From the MGCB: Here are the licensing hours effective April 25th thru Sept. 3rd. Please advise licensees to apply for their licenses prior to entering the restricted areas and before the day they are scheduled to race. Licensing applications are available online at email@example.com
or by calling Hazel Park (313) 564-5397 or Northville Downs (248) 349-5458. Owner, jockey, driver, and trainer renewal applications may be sent by email, U.S. Mail, or fax with payment, and credit cards are accepted. Fax numbers are Hazel Park (248) 398-7583 or Northville Downs (248) 349-9139. Horses must have a current Rhino Vaccination within 6 months turned into the state veterinarian prior to entry. All trainers at Hazel Park Raceway will be required to fill out in full a workout/gate card, and given to the outrider upon entering the track prior to workout. This must be completed to receive credit for their horses workout.
Hazel Park Licensing Hours, April 25 to May 21: Tuesdays: 7:30 AM to 2:00 PM Wednesdays: 7:30 AM to Noon Fridays: 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM Saturdays: 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM
Baseball may be America’s Pastime, but it has unquestionably been supplanted by football as the primary spectator sport of choice. The National Football League has made amazing strides over the past few decades, turning itself into the preeminent sports league in the world. The NFL accomplished this in the same way that its most successful franchises win championships – teamwork.
The National Football League has several unique features that ensure a level of parity and regional access to the brand. A salary cap ensures that all teams compete on a level playing field in terms of player costs. An inverse draft system allows low-performing teams first access to the best college players each year.
Most importantly, though, is the NFL’s policy of revenue sharing that ensures that the brand is strong from Dallas, Texas to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Despite the fact that the lion’s share of television revenues are generated in a handful of major media market cities (New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc.), NFL rules stipulate that each franchise receives an even share of these funds. This helps to ensure that the sport maintains a strong foothold throughout the nation, and helps build a following that elevates the entire sport.
In a similar manner, the horse racing industry in Michigan pools simulcast revenues from various tracks around the state and shares them equally with all. The goal is to create a stable and consistent industry that spans multiple regions of the state.
Recently, some have argued that revenues generated by each specific track should be kept rather than shared. While this “site-specific” revenue would undoubtedly provide a short-term boost to the busier tracks, the long-term effects would be devastating to the entire industry. Smaller market tracks would soon go out of business, and before long Michigan might only have a single horse racing track. A sole venue would not be able to support the multi-million dollar industry, and some forms of racing (most notably thoroughbred and quarter horse) would cease altogether in Michigan.
This concept is the exact opposite of the practices that have made the NFL the most profitable sports league in the world – earning almost twice as much annually as its next closest competitor. Profit-sharing throughout the league demonstrates a long-term strategy that benefits the entire sport rather than just a few strong members. Conversely, site-specific racing revenues are the epitome of short-term, bottom-line planning that will benefit a small number of individuals at the expense of the majority of the sport’s participants.
Even worse, the long-term negative impact on the industry as a whole will eventually catch up to even the beneficiaries of site-specific simulcast revenues. Those lucky few will watch their profits dwindle as Michigan’s horse racing industry implodes. Eventually, the only real revenues for the one or two remaining tracks will be almost completely generated from races in other states. This idea is a bad deal for all involved, even those who might to stand to gain in the short run.
It becomes more difficult to draw a conclusion, that allowing an industry with a 77 year history to compete fairly is the "expansion" of gaming and a shallow argument at best, with:
1) More than 25 Casinos, with plans for more! 2) Hundreds of "Charity Poker" games taking place 3)Tens of millions wagered on the internet by Michigan residents, illegally on horse racing....state, tracks and horsemen receive -0-! 4) Lottery grows with Mega Millions and PowerBall, new games almost weekly, and Keno everywhere In light of the above, the "expansion" of gaming is a shallow argument vs the loss of 12,000 jobs and the elimination of hundreds of family businesses.
There appears to be more at work here! Under the current environment, Michigan's horse racing industry is facing two choices: 1) Get out of the state 2) Be forced out of the business.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: An entire industry that exists in almost every county in Michigan, and provides jobs for thousands of families! Horse racing has been a productive business in Michigan for more than 79 years, that provides: 12,000 family jobs Approx. 400 million dollars in economic impact, huge impact on agriculture 84,000 green acres Each race horse involves a significant numbers jobs and products: Farm jobs; breeding, raising and training Hay, Grain, Bedding Supplies, Equipment, Trucks, Trailers, Fuel and Maintenance Grooms, Trainers, Riders, Vets and Blacksmiths Track employees, Tellers, Maintenance The industry continues work on amending the 1995 Racing Act that will allow the industry to compete fairly with the gaming industry. There are important issues that are close to agreement. When that is completed, the survival of the industry will depend on the support of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, quite a challenge. Not many industries face that challenge when a decision is made to offer more products that will allow them compete fairly within their industry. At the end of the day, horse racing depends on our elected officials. Take time to personally discuss your business with your legislator and ask for support, this may be our last chance.
PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR PAC FUND: Our ADW bill, SB634, is a vital link to the future of horse racing in Michigan. Although we have very positive feedback from almost every legislator that has seen our bill, we now NEED TO GAIN SUPPORT FOR OUR EFFORT! Please continue to support your PAC and any contribution you can afford will be helpful! Please send to: Michigan HBPA PAC Fund (NO CORPORATE CHECKS) 841 N. Latson Rd. Howell, Michigan 48843
MI-HBPA BENEVOLENT TRUST: Please email or call to request current coverage and claim form. Benevolence is available for current members. Benevolent Trust Programs: The Trust shall provide optical, medical, dental and funeral burial benefits to HBPA members without insurance for husband and spouse, children are not covered. Click here to download the information.
PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR PAC FUND: MORE THAN EVER, OUR FUTURE LIES WITH OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES. WE NEED TO GAIN SUPPORT FOR OUR STORY! Please continue to support your PAC, any contribution you can afford will be helpful! THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS. Please to: Michigan HBPA PAC Fund (NO CORPORATE CHECKS) 841 N. Latson Rd. Howell, Michigan 48843
Aflac: The Aflac Insurance Company, HBPA Corporate sponsor, is offering discounts to HBPA members nationwide for accident insurance. Michigan members that may be interested, call for quote: www.chooseaflac.com/hbpalead
(314) 662-1824 Dave Fennemore (636) 734-6725
SAVINGS: EquineSavings is offering discounts of equipment purchases for members of HBPA affiliates and there members, to include members of the Michigan HBPA as a national affiliate. Discounts up to 28% on TORO, eXmark and container company Boston. For details call (877)-905-0004 and visit www.equinesavings.com
Liability Insurance: National HBPA Owners and Trainers Liability Ins. has been secured by the National for affiliate members. The insurance is to protect your assets against claims for bodily injury or property damage related to your horse activity to include breeding, racing, sales and training. CONTACT: Kevin S. Lavin (800) 446-3112 to discuss details.