Tag Archives: Fruitport Casino

Michigan Notebook: December 11, 2009

– It appears some significant hurdles are about to be cleared on the road to building a casino on the former site of Great Lakes Downs. The Muskegon Chronicle reports the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is nearing an agreement with the township and county governments over municipal services for the proposed building. The agreement outline services including law enforcement and fire protection, and how the tribe would pay for it. From where that money would come appears to be one of the major points of debate still on the table.

After an agreement is reached, the document will be put in front of the Fruitport Township Board, the Muskegon County Board and the tribal council for approval. The tribe will also require approval from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Michigan’s governor (whomever it may be at the time) for the land to be put into trust in order for it to be used for gambling.

– Speaking of Great Lakes Downs, Google Reader kicked up an interesting note this morning regarding a mention of the track in a handicapping book. In fact, an entire chapter is dedicated to the defunct Muskegon oval in “Small Track Betting: Pick More Winners Using This Sure-Fire Eight -Point System of Race Analysis” by C.N. Richardson.

In the chapter, titled “Great Lakes Downs”, Richardson outlines the track’s history and that of Michigan racing in general.  The chapter also discusses the 2006 race fixing scandal that forced seven riders off many of the nation’s tracks, including GLD regulars T.D. Houghton, Joe Judice and Jose H. Delgado. Richardson continues to discuss race fixing to cash exotic tickets, then gives an overview of the track’s trainer and jockey colonies. He finishes by handicapping a few races on a GLD card.

The book was written in 2007, and considering the manner in which the author breaks down the track, it must have hit the shelves before the track shut its doors. There are a few grammar and continuity errors (It’s Terry Houghton, not Timothy; some misspelled horse names; occasionally referring to the track as “Great Lake”, which is surprisingly common throughout all turf writing), but it is always interesting to see Michigan tracks become the focus of an author’s pen (or in modern times, his or her keyboard). The only other instance of GLD playing a significant role in a book that immediately comes to mind was in “Horseplayers: Life at the Track” by Ted McClelland. The author traveled to Muskegon with infamous racetrack bucket-lister McChump and gave a less-than-favorable review. Otherwise, it is a very fine read in its own right.

All things considered, “Small Track Betting” is officially on the Christmas list.

To purchase “Small Track Betting” from Amazon, click here.

To read the chapter on Great Lakes Downs, click here.

Crain’s Detroit Business reports Pinnacle Race Course is one of Michigan’s top economic investments of the last two years. Pinnacle ranked 25th among companies receiving MEGA/brownfield incentives in 2008-09, with an investment of $142 million. Additional consideration was given to each company’s ranking among the state’s largest construction projects of 2009 (Pinnacle was #14).

The largest investment on the list came from Clairvoyant Energy Solar Panel Manufacturing Inc. and Xtreme Power Inc., who are putting in $1.33 billion to build a renewable-energy park on the former site of a Ford assembly plant in Wixom.

– Jockey DeShawn Parker, son of Michigan steward Daryl Parker, was named a finalist Wednesday for the Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. According to the Blood Horse, the award “honors and recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.” Other riders nominated for the award  include Calvin Borel, Garrett Gomez, Randy Meier and Gallyn Mitchell.

Parker is a regular rider at Mountaineer in West Virginia and recently began taking his tack to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. This is his first time being nominated for the award. For more information on Parker and his career, the Blood Horse wrote a good piece about him following his 3,000th win, which can be read here.

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Digging up the past

I’m cooking up something special for this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships, so hang loose for a little while as I finish it up.

Until then, check out this blog I stumbled across focusing on the former Great Lakes Downs property as it transitions from a racetrack to a proposed casino. It has not been updated since March, and the posts are pretty intermittent, but it provides some informative articles for those curious about what has been happening with the land since the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians bought it from Magna Entertainment Corp. last summer.

If anything else, there are some neat pictures of the track from Google Earth and from the apron during the races.

Also, for those who have not already browsed it, Equibase now offers a free horse search on its website. An account with the site is required, but there is no cost to set one up.

Users can search for any Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse or Arabian with at least one start and will receive information on the dates and locations of its starts, as well as the horse’s lifetime record. If available, the results will also include charts of the races and video replays.

I have lost several hours scheduled to be used productively because of this search. It is fun to walk down memory lane and follow the career paths of the horses I grew up watching. I have learned quite a bit about the history of racing in Michigan just from the short time the feature has been available.

These links ought to suffice until I roll out my Breeders’ Cup post(s). Enjoy!

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Filed under Great Lakes Downs