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Updated Michigan news: Hazel Park to stay open

May 21, 2009

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A compromise agreement has been reached in Michigan and Hazel Park will remain open throughout June and July, racing just Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays, but 15 races per program. The change came after an earlier announcement that the state\'s racing commissioner had asked all the tracks to drastically reduce race dates and have just one track racing at a time. 
Hazel Park, which had already reduced its 2009 race schedule to 83 dates, was ordered by Michigan Racing Commissioner Christine White to reduce that schedule again by another 65 percent. Now in question is racing at Hazel Park in August and September as 42 dates were ordered cut by the commissioner, so supplemental funds must be found in order to keep the track open.
Pinnacle Thoroughbred racetrack, which opens June 5, was ordered to cut dates by 63 percent, and will now race only 25 days, down 39 from what was originally scheduled. However, Thoroughbred officials are working with White to restore those dates.
Budget cuts in the state already have cost harness racing its overnight fair circuit, which has in turn led to the cancellation of some long-standing races and will likely lead to the complete cancellation of racing at 12-14 fairs. On the Thoroughbred side, 100 percent of $1.4 million that was supposed to fund racing will now go toward the state’s budget, which in turn resulted in the elimination of stakes racing at Pinnacle—which is in only its second year of operation.


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