Pinnacle May Negotiate More Race Dates

The racetrack was ordered to cut its race dates by 63% May 21.

After some negotiations with different Thoroughbred groups, it appears Pinnacle Race Course near Detroit, Mich. may survive after all.

The racetrack, which was ordered to cut its 2009 dates by 63% according to a May 21 announcement by the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, is now in the process of trying to bargain back some of those days.

“I think there is a good chance that we’re going to be able to do that,” said trainer Bob Gorham, a director of the Michigan HBPA who is currently saddling horses at Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania.

“The (Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and) Breeders’ Association, along with the HBPA and the racetrack, are working with the Office of the Racing Commissioner to negotiate some more dates, and from my understanding, the amount of dollars it would take to do that is not an insurmountable situation. So it’s just a question of getting all parties to agree and finding a way to do it.”

Pinnacle, which opens June 5, was scheduled to race through the fall. In all, 39 days will be lost if the current budget plan stands.

The emergency situation first came about when the Michigan ORC realized it was required to report its final budget May 22, and slashing race dates was the only way to make ends meet. Due to the approaching Memorial Day holiday May 25, however, a short extension was granted.

“This gives all parties a little more time to negotiate a final solution,” said Gorham, adding that a decision on the situation will be made May 26 or 27.