Pinnacle Race Course surrenders racing license

Pinnacle Race Course will not operate live racing or simulcasting this year after voluntarily surrendering its 2011 race meeting license earlier this week.

The Michigan HBPA website reports that it received an executive order from the Michigan Gaming Control Board making the action official. The Gaming Board had set a deadline of Wed. May 4 at 1 p.m. for Pinnacle to submit the paperwork needed to fulfill the “conditional” status of its 2011 racing license.

From the Michigan HBPA website


“In  a letter dated May 2, 2011 and sent via electronic mail, Post It Stables,Inc., d/b/a Pinnacle Race Course, voluntarily surrendered its 2011 Thoroughbred Race Meeting license and its 2011 Simulcast permit.

The simulcast purse pool monies will be placed into escrow under the Horse Racing Law of 1995, Public Act 279 of 1995; MCL431.301 et seq., and the promulgated administrative rules. Further instructions will be provided under a separate order…..

This Order does not preclude Post It Stables, Inc., d/b/a Pinnacle Race Course from continuing to resolve its financial viability issues and to submit an application for the 2012 horse racing season under the Horse Racing Law of 1995, Public Act 279 of 1995; MCL 431.301 et seq., and the promulgated administrative rules.”


Richard S. Kalm, Executive Director
Date: May 4,2011
Michigan Gaming Control Board

Any updates on this story will be reported as they are made available.

UPDATE: Here is a copy of the Executive Order issued by Gaming Board executive director Richard Kalm.

Crain’s Detroit Business wrote a piece on Pinnacle giving up its license, with quotes from co-owner Lisa Campbell and Michigan HBPA executive director Gary Tinkle. That story can be read here.

Here is a story from the Southgate News Herald, based in Detroit’s downriver area.

The Daily Racing form’s take on the story.

The Detroit News’ writeup.

The Detroit Free Press story.


Filed under Pinnacle Race Course, Politics

10 responses to “Pinnacle Race Course surrenders racing license

  1. I am truly sorry you won’t get a chance to race this year. It must be a blow to the good people of the Michigan HBPA. Hopefully, a plan can be put in place for next year to get thoroughbred racing resuming in Michigan.

  2. blackwatch

    This being the case, is it possible for HPBA to pull the Thoroughbred simulcast signal, as Longshot previosly suggested is their right and in accordance with the racing act, just in time for Derby Day? And if they don’t pull the signal, does the state then get to keep all illegally wagered simulcast wagering money?

    • Otis

      I think any simul money will be put into an escrow account for the next season, assuming there is one.

      As a player, if the signal on TB’s is pulled I will NEVER make another wager at or on a Michigan track again. Why would you alienate an already dwindling audience? Pulling the signal will serve no purpose but to splinter an already splintered industry.

      • blackwatch

        Don’t get me wrong – I don’t advocate pulling the signal – I’m just saying that it wouldn’t surpise me to discover that MGCB let it waging occur and then find a way to take that money away from the horsemen. What happens to the Sire Stakes nomination fees for this year? You can’t run a futurity for 3 year olds. At the very least, I think HBPA should be negotiating those races be run at an out of state track. If the racing act states that no Thoroughbred simulcast can occur in Michigan with no live TB racing, then isn’t it illegal to simulcast TB racing in Michigan as of the day of the license surrender?

  3. Clarification: The Michigan HBPA can only impact the signal being exported from Pinnacle as Pinnacle’s “certified horsemen’s organization” (CHO).
    The Michigan HBPA is dedicated to saving thoroughbred racing, as well as, pari-mutuel racing statewide. The HBPA will continue to work with the MHHA , GLQHA and all industry participants in this effort. One must acknowledge, the racing industry is regulated by the state and the only way this industry will survive, is to include in Governor Synder’s “Reinventing Michigan” efforts. The industry will only survive being offered to compete fairly within the gaming industry. Lack of previous adminstrations to display any interest in the industry has contributed significantly to the current dismal status.

    • blackwatch

      I know if anyone can decipher the correct interpretation of the horse racing act, you can. I find the language very “cloudy” in regards to the legality of broadcasting a simulcast signal of a different breed in which there is no live meet.

      In any event, I would make darn sure that the other tracks in Michigan were LEGALLY conducting simulcasting of TB racing – the state doesn’t need any excuses to shut us all down! Does Michigan even have a racing commisioner? The MGCB website hasn’t even bothered to change the TB racing info!

      • blackwatch

        Page 20 of the 1995 racing act:
        (i) All applicants conducting licensed race meetings in a city area shall authorize all other race meeting licensees in the state to conduct simulcasts of the breed for which the applicant is licensed to conduct live horse racing. An applicant may not conduct interstate simulcasts unless authorization to do so is given by the applicant, in accordance with subdivision (j), permitting all other race meeting licensees to receive interstate simulcasts of a different breed than they are licensed to race live.
        (j) A race meeting licensee shall not conduct an interstate simulcast of a different breed than it is licensed to race live at its race meeting, unless the licensee has the written permission of all race meeting licensees in a city area that are licensed to race that breed live at their race meetings.

  4. ragman

    Gary Tinkle

    The voters of Michigan overwhelmingly approved the lottery, prop 1 and Rick Snyder as governor. Who’s upset about Pinnacle closing? The horsemen. The place was run like a country club for horsemen with almost no consideration for fans or bettors. I can’t write to my rep and ask for help for the industry because I don’t know what to ask for and he sure as hell doesn’t doesn’t have a clue about horseracing.

    Myself I think we need much bigger pools. To accomplish this you need to run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays when there is less competition for the bettor’s $$$. Michigan bettors need to have access to ADW wagering on Michigan tracks. I’ve grown to believe that the MiHBPA thinks that for each $ wagered from an ADW is a $ less wagered through simulcast.

    So be specific. What kind of help do you need?

    • Otis

      Ragman has it exactly correct. We need bigger pools. It needs to be accomplished through wagering and not some fleeting hope of a slots fueled purse. If slots, or any other alternative form of wagering is the answer, then why even hold the races? Just put up a slots parlor and be done with it.

      As Ragman said, the smaller tracks need to run during the “off days” when they are not competing with the bigger tracks. Twilight or evening racing would be nice as well but getting the cooperation of the Harness crowd to allow that in SE Michigan seems like a pipe dream.

      Last, we NEED access to ADWs. I live near Brighton and because of family commitments can’t make it to the track every day but would love to wager from home. And, how about all the people that live in the upper part of the lower peninsula and the U.P.? Why can’t we open up wagering to them? A de facto forcing me to drive to a track to wager, and having no legal ADW access, is/will force me to look at an off-shore book. In the long run, how does that help the state of racing? Mr. Tinkle, I would enjoy hearing your position as a horseman, on the ADW situation in this State.

  5. Many comments express horse racing needs to take care of itself, well, how is that accomplished when Lansing refuses to allow the industry to offer new pari-mutuel products. Race tracks started it all in 1933 and are basically wagering on the same products. Race tracks should be allowed to offer any pari-mutuel product available, especially, ADW wagering. Current estimates, even illegal, that approx 80 million is wagered thru the internet on horse racing from Michigan residents and growing…state, tracks and horsemen all lose. It is impossible for any industry to survive when regulation ignores the ability to compete fairly. What might the motive be, the state competes with horse racing with the lottery, yet is regulating it out of business, quite a competitive advantage.

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