Meet at Michigan Half-Miler Gets Green Light

Mount Pleasant Meadows got the green light from regulators to begin its meet.

Mount Pleasant Meadows has received approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board to hold live racing beginning July 24.

The half-miler in central Michigan will offer mostly Thoroughbred races but also Quarter Horse and Arabian racing, according to the condition book. The Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has a contract with Mount Pleasant, which this year replaces the shuttered Pinnacle Race Course, which vacated its racing license for 2011.

According to information emailed to media outlets, the track is charging a starter fee of $400 per horse per entry, refundable if the horse doesn’t start. The fee must be paid prior to post time for each race.

Also, Mount Pleasant has 55 ship-in stalls. The Michigan HBPA will pick up the ship-in fees for the first 200 ship-ins during the meet.

Entries for the first program were being taken July 20. The meet extends through Oct. 30 on a Saturday and Sunday schedule for the most part.

Following a July 15 meeting with the Michigan HBPA, Erik Pedersen, deputy director of the MGCB division of horse racing, raised several concerns about the Mount Pleasant meet in a letter, and indicated that unless the issues were addressed the track would be unable to offer racing. The Michigan HBPA board met July 16 to amend the contract and meet the requirements established by the MGCB in the letter.

Mount Pleasant opened its facilities for workouts July 13 in preparation for the meet. 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.

Mount Pleasant Meadows in the past has offered Quarter Horse, Arabian, and some Thoroughbred racing on weekends. The first condition book shows purses similar to those offered in 2010 at Pinnacle--$10,000 for maiden special weight events and $8,000 for a $4,000 claimer, for example.

Because of the track configuration, 4 1/2-furlong to six-furlong races will be run around two turns.