Michigan Notebook: February 2, 2010

– A story in Monday’s Oakland Press features Hazel Park CEO Dan Adkins and the petition he and his group, Racing to Save Michigan, are spearheading to implement casino gaming into the state’s five racetracks. The story highlights the additions Hazel Park made in 2004 after State Congress approved slots at the track. However, the structure was never finished after Gov. Jennifer Granholm failed to sign the bill into law. The restrictions set in place by Proposal 1 of 2004 further sealed the building’s fate.

Progress with the petition has been hampered by a lack of support from the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association. The HBPA website cites the petition’s lack of provisions for live racing, simulcasting, purse revenue and horsemen’s organizations for its refusal to endorse the plan in its current form. Negotiations over the language of the petition have been ongoing between Adkins’ group and the horsemen’s organizations, but according to the HBPA’s site nothing has been finalized.

– A six horse crash Saturday night at Sports Creek Raceway made the local news. WJRT-ABC 12 reports the crash occurred when the lead horse in a race at the Swartz Creek harness track fell to the ground. Horses and drivers then began to pile up as they tried to avoid the fallen leader.

Two drivers were taken to the hospital following the accident. According to the MHHA website, driver Larry Lake suffered a shoulder injury that will require surgery, but he was released Sunday morning. Keith Crawford was placed in intensive care, but is expected to be released in the near future, if he is not out already.  Amazingly, it was reported none of the horses were seriously injured, and only one was “slightly hurt”.

To view the news feature, including footage of the crash (no fatalities, but still not for the faint of heart), click here.

– For those of you curious about the demolition progress of defunct Muskegon racetrack Great Lakes Downs (or, like me, just need closure), a citizen of the Internet took several pictures of the scene while taking in the decay of her former community. The photos, interspersed with other shots of the area can be found here.

– Consider this your one-week warning to vote for the Michigan-Bred Claimer 2009 Photo of the Year before the poll closes up. Photo #9, “Caged Animal”, enjoyed a burst in popularity and holds a comfortable lead. If you feel another photo is more deserving of the title, this is your last chance to do something about it. If that photo is your favorite, make sure it closes strong. Either way, you’ve got a week to decide.

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7 Comments

Filed under Great Lakes Downs, Politics

7 responses to “Michigan Notebook: February 2, 2010

  1. Andrew Nash

    Joe,

    That was a bad pileup, glad to hear everyone is okay. I’d say those pictures of the Great Lakes Downs demolition aren’t for the faint of heart either.

  2. Mary

    I popped onto your website to touch base re Michigan-bred Speak of Kings. I agree with the first poster – neither the harness racing crash nor the photos of Great Lakes Downs are for the faint of heart. I was surprised at how suddenly sad those photos made me!

    Just received a workout report for Speak of Kings. I have been keeping an eye on him since one of your blog entries included a photo of him. Am hoping he is in good hands.

    This notice is to inform you that one or more of your horses has worked out.
    Speak of Kings
    Your Comment: MI Bred 57 Starts: 18 – 10 – 8, $283,592 a/o 7/11

    Date: February 2, 2010
    Track: FAIR GROUNDS
    Distance: Four Furlongs
    Time: 51:00 Breezing
    Track Condition: Fast
    Surface: Dirt
    Rank: 18/28

  3. ragman

    So if we do the math…from a tax of $578 mil the state will get $472 mil(75%), counties will get $126 mil(20%), Oakland County will get $18.9 mil(3%) and Hazel Park will get 12.6 mil(2%). Nothing wrong here they could all use the money.
    To continue….from the MiHBPA website this $578 mil represents 30% of the take with the other 70% going to the tracks. My math makes it look like the tracks would be sharing $1350 mil and this is without any guarantees to what would be allotted for purses (again from the MiHBPA).
    Evidently my math must be wrong. Would someone please check it. Dan Adkins wouldn’t try this in broad daylight would he?

  4. old time race fan

    The photos of Muskegon were well done, I thought, but certainly somber. It is a sad thing to see what’s left of the track. All I want to say is thank God we still have Pinnacle…. 4 months to Opening Day.

  5. mibredclaimer

    Andrew,
    Yeah, these pictures are pretty depressing, but I don’t think they’re as bad as the ones taken at the beginning of the demolition process when the structure was still recognizable. Those are downright gut-wrenching. Seeing the plant with all the windows and walls knocked out wasn’t pretty.

    Mary,
    Thanks for the update on Speak of Kings. He’s quite the globetrotter. Looks like if he stays down there, it’ll be his first start at the Fair Grounds. Wonder if they’ll try him on the dirt or turf?

    Ragman,
    I’ll have to check the math as well, but the lack of guaranteed money headed to the horsemen is definitely the big issue. It’s a shame we’ve got something so close to getting on the ballot that has such a fatal flaw that it can’t get support from within its own industry.

    Old Time Race Fan,
    I hear that. The shot of the finish line in particular hits home. Actually, I’m surprised the mirror didn’t go in the auction. Wonder if it’s still there…

    As for Pinnacle, I should look into putting up a countdown clock leading up to opening day. That could be fun.

    • old time race fan

      You know the shot of the finish line had me thinking the same.
      The countdown clock sounds sweet. Let’s see — it’s 120 days from today. Or approximately 120 days and 2 hours until the gates swing open for the first race!

  6. ragman

    Looking at the Racino amendment. If it was to pass there is still the amendment of 04 that requires both statewide AND local voter approval for slots to become a reality. With the city of Hazel Park supposedly in line for $12.6 mil there should be no trouble getting their residents to approve. What about Northville or any of the other locations. I don’t see any cash alloted for them. Without any huge tax(?) infusions for them would they vote yes?

    Hazel Park Raceway has a history of slots and racing in Florida. Did dog racing do well after slots were approved?

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