Michigan ORC Trying to Salvage Race Dates

The House and Senate are looking for funds to keep Michigan racing alive.

The Michigan House and Senate are scrambling to find alternative funds for the Office of Racing Commissioner after a government order given the week of May 11 wiped out all the funds for Thoroughbred programs in order to pay state debts.

“The review (of the situation) could take a week or so,” said Bob Gorham, a director of the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Gorham trains horses at Pinnacle Race Course, Michigan’s only Thoroughbred track. The facility was originally ordered by Michigan racing commissioner Christine White to cut its 2009 schedule by 63% to 25 days.

But Gorham is hopeful that after some negotiations, Pinnacle’s schedule will be bumped back up to 62 days, which would be down just six days from last year.

“We expect to lose the first Sunday of the meet, which would be the June 7 card, and hopefully we will get the issue resolved after that,” said Gorham, who noted Pinnacle may end up cutting all of its Sunday cards due to lack of availability of stewards.

Michigan’s top harness track, Hazel Park, and Mt. Pleasant Meadows, a mixed-breed facility located in the central part of the state, also are in danger of losing live race dates scheduled between now and Oct. 1 under the order unless negotiations are successful.