Tag Archives: Michigan Gaming Control Board

It’s On: Mount Pleasant Meadows approved for 2011 meet

After almost a year of uncertainty, Mount Pleasant Meadows will kick off its 2011 live meet this weekend.

Mount Pleasant Meadows has met the requirements set by the Michigan Gaming Control Board and will conduct a live meet in 2011.

The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon, before the races drew for the Sunday, July 24 opening card. Saturday’s races were canceled after entries were ordered by the state to cease Tuesday morning.

To make up for the cancelled day, some of the races from Saturday’s card were combined with Sunday’s to produce the opening program. A total of 82 horses were entered in the day’s 12 races – 11 Thoroughbred and one Quarter Horse.

Here is the revised schedule from the Michigan HBPA website…

Sunday Post Time 1pm

2011 Amended race dates:
Sunday July 24 and 31
Sunday August 14 (County Fair no racing 6th, 7th  or 13th)
Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21
Saturday August 27 and Sunday August 28
Saturday Sept. 3, Sunday Sept. 4 and Monday Sept. 5
Saturday Sept. 10, Sunday Sept. 11
Saturday Sept. 17, Sunday Sept. 18
Saturday Sept. 24, Sunday Sept. 25
Saturday Oct. 1, Sunday Oct. 2
Saturday Oct. 8, Sunday Oct. 9
Saturday Oct. 15, Sunday 16
Friday Oct. 21, Saturday Oct. 22 and Sunday October 23
Friday Oct. 28, Saturday Oct. 29 and Sunday October 30

 An updated condition book will be posted as soon as it is made available.

One of the major stalling points in the process of getting approved by the state was the use of purse pool funds to offset operating expenses. To alleviate the problem, the track will charge a $400-per horse, per-entry starter fee. The fee is refunded if the horse does not start.

The Michigan HBPA will cover the ship-in costs for the first 200 Thoroughbreds to ship-in during the meet. Mount Pleasant has 55 ship-in stalls.

To read the Gaming Control Board’s executive order regarding Mount Pleasant Meadows, click here.

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Michigan Gaming Control Board issues statement on Mount Pleasant Meadows

From the Michigan HBPA website…

MGCB ISSUES DECISION TO YESTERDAY’S ATTENDEES, rec’d at 4:19pm July 15, 2011:

“Gentlemen,

Based upon our discussion yesterday, there exist some outstanding matters that need resolution prior to any live racing at Mt. Pleasant Meadows.

Foremost, as discussed, the outstanding breakage needs to be paid and all aspects of the race meet application that require modification need to be amended, including details of capital improvements as discussed in our meeting.

The legality of the use of the purse pool to fund track operations was brought up last year by the HBPA and the MGCB was asked to look into the matter. In doing so, the advice from the Attorney General’s office was that purse pool funds could not be used for track operations, thus the purse pool order was issued earlier this year. Additionally, audits of the purse pool were conducted to further identify its usage.

Based upon review and internal discussion of the information from yesterday’s meeting and contracts recently provided between the associations and the track, the contracts denote that the purse pool remains to be used to fund operations through the use of assessments. Although this may have been prior practice by the tracks, it is by no way an “industry standard” and based upon advise from the Attorney General’s office we cannot find it to be a viable use of the purse pool funds. The track must find alternative methods to fund operations outside of deriving money from the purse pool, even if indirectly through a horsemen’s account. The MGCB is not opposed to the use of fees prior to a race, such as a starter fee, which are not derived from the purse pool.

Until the aforementioned information is addressed and we are provided contracts which adhere to the racing act and purse pool order, live racing cannot commerce at Mt. Pleasant Meadows.”

Thank You
Erik Pedersen, Deputy Director
Division of Horse Racing, Audit & Gaming Technology

With a week to go before Mount Pleasant’s scheduled opening day, and just days before the races draw, this is not promising news. One can only hope the situation is promptly rectified and racing in Michigan can finally get off the ground as planned.

UPDATE: The Michigan HBPA has put out a response to the Gaming Control Board’s ruling…

MT PLEASANT MEADOWS: Efforts are currently underway to address and comply with ALL request made in Erik Pedersen’s letter.

The MI-HBPA, GLQHA and MPM are amending contracts to meet requirements to permit entries to be taken Tues. and continue for plans for opening day Saturday July 23, 2011. A meeting is scheduled for Sat. and the MGCB will be available as the process continues.

Information will be updated ASAP.

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Mount Pleasant Meadows releases first 2011 condition book

The groundwork for Mount Pleasant Meadows’ upcoming meet was revealed Wednesday when the track released its first condition book.

Aside from laying out the conditions from Mount Pleasant’s opening day on July 23 to Aug. 24, the document provides an interesting preview of what to expect during what will be an unprecedented meet.

Thoroughbred races will make up the bulk of the cards. The claiming ranks will range from $2,500 to $8,000, along with allowance and starter allowance contests. No stakes races are listed for any breed.

Mount Pleasant’s Thoroughbred purse structure will be regionally competitive, and even better than some tracks in surrounding states. For example, here is how Mount Pleasant will stack up against other regional tracks running at the same time at the open maiden special weight class…

Presque Isle Downs* – $39,000 (Plus up to 30% PA-Bred bonus)
Hoosier Park* – $35,000 (Plus 40% State-bred Supplement)
Arlington Park – $28,000 (Plus $10,080 Illinois Registered Owner Award for ICF)
Mountaineer* – $17,600
Mount Pleasant Meadows – $10,000 (Plus $2,080 for T.A.F)
Thistledown – $7,200 (Plus $5,000 if winner is OH-bred)
River Downs – $6,400 (Plus $5,000 if winner is OH-bred)
Fairmount Park –  $5,600 (Plus $2,016 Illinois Registered Owner Award)

(Purse information gathered from condition books or entries available on Equibase or track websites)
*Tracks with expanded gaming or “Racinos”. 

The meet’s first half will be heavy on sprint races. A vast majority of the Thoroughbred races written in the first book are carded between two and six furlongs, with races at a mile or longer dispensed sparingly. However, because of the track’s four-furlong oval setup, featuring a six-furlong chute, any race contested at four furlongs or longer will include at least two turns.

Quarter Horse, Paint Horse and Arabian races will fill out the remainder of the cards. Purses appear consistent across the breeds and classes, with a base of $3,000 plus up to an additional $2,333 from other sources.

The track, and Michigan’s racing industry, still await a final endorsement by the Michigan Gaming Control Board before the meet is set in stone. Until then, the track continues to prepare for the live meet as scheduled.

If all goes to plan, Mount Pleasant Meadows is expected to race Saturdays and Sundays from July 23 to Oct. 30. A few three-day weeks are being planned for the second half of the meet to make up for the dates lost to the Isabella County Fair in early August.

To download the condition book, click here.

UPDATE: There have been some tweaks made to the condition book to account for actions taken by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The above version is no longer current. For an updated version of Mount Pleasant’s condition book, please contact the track or the Michigan HBPA.

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Michigan Thoroughbred live meet contract moves to Gaming Control Board

The Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Mount Pleasant Meadows have reached an agreement on a live Thoroughbred meet for 2011 and sent the contract to the Michigan Gaming Control Board for approval.

From the Michigan HBPA website…

MT. PLEASANT MEADOWS: The contract between the HBPA and Mt. Pleasant Meadows has been signed and sent to the MGCB for review and approval of the assessment fee and additional race dates. In addition, the contract requires a policy to cover jockeys, efforts are underway to secure a policy prior to opening day.

Race dates: 30 days starting July 23, 2011 – October 30,2011, Saturday and Sunday

Stewards are available Wednesday and Sunday mornings for clocking and licenses.

Condition Book will be available soon.

The meet’s 30-day schedule was leaked a few weeks ago, but this is the first time the HBPA has come out with a statement on its website regarding the details of the proposed meet.

Once the contract passes the state’s final hurdle, the meet ought to become official. Details on the meet’s schedule, including first post times and whether or not races will be run during the Isabella County Fair (Aug. 6-14) should be made available at that point.

As always, keep it here for further updates.

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Mount Pleasant Meadows opens for training

Mount Pleasant Meadows is inching closer to the start of its 2011 meet.

Mixed breed racetrack Mount Pleasant Meadows opened its facilities for workouts on Wednesday in preparation for a 2011 live meet that looks more and more likely to occur.

The central Michigan oval became the destination of Michigan’s Thoroughbred meet following the voluntary surrender of Pinnacle Race Course’s racing license earlier this year. The track also features Quarter Horse, Paint Horse and Arabian racing.

Local trainers Tom Dunlap and Dave Gates filled the day’s work tab with Quarter Horse and paint breezes. To view the times for Wednesday’s workouts, click here.

Mount Pleasant briefly opened the track for workouts in mid-May, but soon closed back up following a conflict with the state. The track’s simulcast area has been unaffected by those issues and remains open.

No official dates have been announced for Mount Pleasant’s 2011 meet, but speculation from reliable sources suggests that opening day will likely be scheduled for late July. According to the Michigan HBPA website, negotiations are currently being conducted between the racetrack and all of the horsemen’s groups involved to complete a contract and get racing underway.

The Morning Sun, Mount Pleasant’s local paper, was on the scene for the day’s workouts and put together a photo slideshow featuring an interview with Dave Gates. To view the slideshow, click here.

To follow all the workouts from Mount Pleasant Meadows as they become available day-by-day, click here.

UPDATE: The Morning Sun followed through on the photo slideshow with a story on the front page of Thursday’s print edition.

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Michigan Gaming Control Board issues purse pool executive orders

The Michigan Gaming Control Board issued a pair of executive orders Friday addressing the status of the state’s Thoroughbred simulcast purse pool while a live meet still hangs in the balance for 2011.

The orders freeze distributions from the Thoroughbred simulcast purse pool account and place the funds in escrow until a Thoroughbred race meeting license is issued.

Gaming Board executive director Richard Kalm also issued a series of comments and reiterations in the same document to discuss the current state of the purse pool, who controls it and exactly how the funds are supposed to be used according to the Michigan Horse Racing Act of 1995.

Among the key points stated by Kalm in the order, he noted that, “at this time, excluding a mixed breed race meeting licensee, there is no race meeting licensee in the State of Michigan approved to conduct a full schedule of  thoroughbred horse racing.”

The mixed breed licensee referred to in the above statement is Mount Pleasant Meadows in central Michigan. Whether or not the state’s three harness tracks can apply for the Thoroughbred meet in the future was not clearly stated in the document.

Kalm also pointed out that the purse pool money is to be used solely for purses and administrative costs. Unauthorized use of the monies, including operating expenses, loans and obligations to maintain a race meeting, would be met with stiff penalties.

To read the Gaming Control Board’s executive orders, click here.

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Michigan Gaming Control Board releases 2010 report

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has released its annual report to the Governor regarding horse racing in the state.

The report examines the wagering-related revenues and tax money generated by each of the state’s five racetracks, as well as a very basic overview of the Gaming Board’s horse racing activities, revenues and expenditures.

To read the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s 2010 report on horse racing, click here.

As time allows, I will be analyzing the trends in Michigan racing over the last decade, based on information provided by the state’s annual reports. Subjects will include statewide figures, Thoroughbred racing, Mount Pleasant Meadows, and perhaps the harness tracks.

Until then, feel free to discuss your thoughts on the latest report.

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