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By George Kutlenios 19 Aug, 2017

Michigan HBPA,  General Membership Meeting and Nominating Meeting.  Sunday, November 12 at 1:00 PM. The Holly Hotel, Second Floor. 

By chelseajaie 15 Mar, 2017

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 ( 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.

3062 W. Grand Boulevard, Suite L-700, Detroit, MI 48202-6062 (313) 456-4130

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.

By chelseajaie 09 May, 2016

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 NOT change 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.

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Before there were casinos, state lotteries, charity poker rooms and internet betting, there was horse racing. Since 1933, thoroughbred horse racing has played a vital role in Michigan’s equine-agricultural environment. Michigan horsemen spend millions of dollars in maintaining equine farms, purchasing trucks and trailers, employing more than 12,000 Michigan residents and supporting feed and hay farmers.  There are registered horsemen in every county in Michigan.
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