Lots of goings on in Michigan racing this week…
– From the Michigan HBPA:
HEARING SCHEDULED: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture hearing is scheduled for May 7th at 10:30am in room 426 of Capitol Bldg and will focus on horse racing. This committee is the conterpart to the Senate Committee that restored a large portion of Ag. Equine Funds the Governor took out of the 2009-10 Budget.
Please plan to attend, more the better, to show a large support group to restore the funding. If you cannot attend, please contact the Committee members* listed below. This is not a time to be inactive, we all know the industry is facing very serious challenges.
* I inserted the link to my post listing the contact information of the House Ag Appropriations Committee members. If you want to send along the form letters or write your own personal message, there is still time, but be quick abut it.
Also, the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association is organizing a “Horseman’s Rally” prior to the hearing. Interested parties should be at the State Capitol building on the corner of Capitol and Allegan in Lansing at 9 a.m. Here is the information from the MHHA website.
If everything goes to plan, I intend to be at this hearing and will report back if anything significant comes from it. Also, be sure to keep an eye on my Twitter feed or check out the Claim Box on the right side of the page next Thursday for live updates.
– Pinnacle Race Course recently released its stakes schedule for the 2009 meet. For a pdf of the schedule, click here.
Here’s what I like and don’t like about what I see…
What I like is Pinnacle’s decision to package several of its stakes races together to give itself some marketable days of racing. If Pinnacle follows through and properly advertises these days and/or gives them killer promotions, it could lead to a nice boost in attendance and handle. One of the popular ideas to revive public interest in the racing product is to put out more “big race days.” With this, Pinnacle is taking a step in the right direction.
What I don’t like are the estimated purses for the Michigan Sire Stakes, the state’s marquee series of races for Michigan-sired horses. Two years ago, the Sire Stakes races were good for $120,000 a piece for each of the six divisions. This year, they’re slated to offer $50,000, blacktype races by the skin of their teeth and no bigger than any other race on the stakes calendar.
Because the Sire Stakes purses are partially funded by the state, the final purses could fluctuate depending on how things go with the budget situation. Either way, the fact that purses this low are even in the discussion is an unsettling notion.
As I have noted several times in the past, the worst thing a new track can do is give people a reason to leave, be it fans or horsemen. Indiana’s purses are going to grow. Pennsylvania’s are already massive. It was already getting harder and harder to justify sticking around before the potential cut in the state’s biggest races. This could make it that much harder. While the dire status of the Sire Stakes purses is not entirely the fault of Pinnacle Race Course, it will be the track that suffers because of it.