Michigan's racing commissioner approved on Oct. 31 the 2008 dates for a new racetrack to be built near Detroit. The track, named Pinnacle Race Course, was granted 63 days of live racing beginning July 18.
The track's application has yet to be approved, but Racing Commissioner Christine White said her office would work expeditiously with track owner Jerry Campbell and other state agencies to get the application processed.
Campbell is the chairman and chief executive officer of Post It Stables, which is building the 10,000-seat racetrack and 200,000 square feet of adjacent retail development near the Detroit Metro Airport. The estimated cost of the project is $142 million.
Currently the only Thoroughbred racetrack in the state is Great Lakes Downs in Muskegon, on the western shore of the Michigan pennisula along Lake Michigan. The 2008 dates application for Great Lakes Downs was withdrawn due to business complications, according to a Racing Commission statement, so after 10 years the track will run its last live races on Nov. 6. Campbell used to own Great Lakes Downs, which is now owned by Magna Entertainment Corp. Campbell, who owns approximately 125 Thoroughbreds and is the founder and former chairman of Republic Bancorp and current chairman of Citizens Republic Bancorp, is an MEC board member.
The president of Post It Stables is Campbell’s wife, Felicia Campbell, who is also a licensed owner and trainer and a board member of the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
"It will be a devastating blow to the state’s agriculture business in the state of Michigan when Great Lakes Downs closes," Campbell said in early October when he announced his plans for Pinnacle Race Course. "If another Thoroughbred racing facility is not open in the state, the economic benefit to the state leaves the state or vanishes altogether."
Pinnacle Race Course's live meet will run Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Nov. 2. Its marquee event will be the Michigan Derby, a $500,000 race for 3-year-olds to be held in early April. A $5-million bonus will be offered for any horse that wins the Michigan Derby and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
In addition to approving Pinnacle Race Course's dates, White also approved the live race dates for the four Standardbred harness race tracks (Hazel Park, Jackson, Northville Downs and Corporation and Sports Creek), as well as the mixed-breed track (Mount Pleasant).