From the Michigan HBPA website…
MGCB RESPONDS: The Michigan Gaming and Control Board indicated today that “they have no objection to our agreement with Pinnacle.” With today’s action of the MGCB the 2010 season is scheduled to begin Saturday, June 5, 2010. Live days will be Saturday and Sunday.
Even though the race lacks any major drawing points for the fair-weather fan, opening on Belmont Stakes day ought to provide a nice additional bump to Pinnacle’s handle for the first day of the meet.
According to the HBPA website, Pinnacle is scheduled to conduct 44 days of live racing this year. Assuming the schedule stays the way it is drawn up (never a sure thing in Michigan), this equates to 22 weekends of racing through the end of October.
An interesting point to consider is that the schedule, as it stands right now, will require the MGCB to employ two sets of stewards to regulate both Pinnacle and Mount Pleasant Meadows, which will also run on Sundays through August. Last year, in a cost-cutting measure, the former Office of Racing Commissioner scheduled the two flat-racing tracks in a way that allowed one group of stewards to cover both venues. Then again, if the tracks are essentially paying their own ways this year, perhaps a set of stewards comes with the package.
So this gives us two opening weekends in a row; Mount Pleasant this Sunday and Pinnacle next Saturday. After a long, tumultuous winter and spring, it will be good to see the horses back out on the track.