HAZEL PARK, Mich. - The Hazel Park Raceway has canceled its final 10 thoroughbred race dates granted for 2015 due to insufficient funds, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).
The MGCB said in a news release Wednesday the Hazel Park Raceway was granted 40 thoroughbred race dates for this summer. However, it will only fulfill 30 dates. That means thoroughbred racing this year at the Hazel Park Raceway will end on Aug. 8. It started on May 1.
The MGCB's executive director, Richard Kalm, said this appears to be a matter of overspending.
"We were disappointed to learn there are insufficient funds available to race beyond Aug. 8. This is an unfortunate and serious matter," Kalm said.
Kalm said the thoroughbred purse pool was depleted rapidly this season. According to the MGCB, at a public hearing last year the Michigan Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which has a contract with the Hazel Park Raceway to race thoroughbreds, indicated it would need approximately $51,000 per night from the purse pool to race.
However, significantly more money -- sometimes about $75,000 per night -- was being taken from the purse pool for some of this season's thoroughbred races at Hazel Park, according to the MGCB.
Kalm said more than $1 million remains available for standardbred racing should the Michigan Harness Horsemen's Association sign a contract with the Hazel Park Raceway in the future.
"The MGCB remains willing to work with HPR management if it can find a solution to its financial challenges," Kalm said. "However, the MGCB must work within the framework of state law. We encourage all of the parties involved in the horse racing industry, including the tracks and the horsemen's associations, to cooperate to best meet the challenges faced by the industry."
Rumors swirled about Hazel Park Raceway shutting down
Rumors had been swirling earlier this season about the Hazel Park Raceway shutting down due to financial issues. Local 4's Steve Garagiola investigated the rumors in June -- watch his report here.
Standardbred racing to resume at Northville Downs
Meanwhile, standardbred racing will resume at Northville Downs in August and continue through November 2015, Kalm said. Northville Downs hosted standardbred races from February to mid-July 2015.
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