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Northville Downs gets $850,000 for purses

September 06, 2017

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The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) on Tuesday announced it was releasing more than $1 million that has been held in escrow since Hazel Park Raceway last raced a harness meet in 2014. The money was garnered from simulcasting, but when Hazel Park switched to Thoroughbreds in 2015, the MGCB held the money as state law required the money be paid out at the racetrack where it was accumulated.

In 2016, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed an amendment that set a Sept. 1, 2017 deadline for Hazel Park and the Michigan Harness Horsemen's Association (MHHA) to work out an agreement on the money. Harness racing has been held at Northville Downs since the change at Hazel Park, and is scheduled to open its fall meet on Friday night.

With no agreement in place on Sept. 1, the MGCB ordered the release of the money, with approximately $850,000 going to purses at Northville Downs and $150,000 going to Hazel Park for track operations and enhancements.

The MHHA will reportedly spread out the $850,000 over a three-year period at Northville Downs, the only Standardbred racetrack still operating in Michigan.

"It's a good thing for us. We're really happy we negotiated because, obviously, it's not doing anybody any good sitting in escrow, and we hope it will help racing in Michigan," MHHA president Tom Barrett told Crain's Detroit Business. "It allows us to maintain or expand our schedule for the next couple of years."

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