Great Lakes Downs Carries Michigan Flag

There will be little change in the Michigan racing calendar in 2002 under a schedule authorized Oct. 31 by Annette Bacola, the state's racing commissioner.

Thoroughbred racing (118 days) will be held at Magna Entertainment's Great Lakes Downs from April 29-Oct. 29. A mixed meet (34 days) is scheduled for Mount Pleasant Meadows from May 4-Sept. 28.

Most of the live pari-mutuel racing -- 415 days -- in Michigan will take place at five Standardbred tracks: Hazel Park, Jackson Harness Raceway, Northville Downs, Saginaw Harness Raceway, and Sports Creek Raceway.

All seven of Michigan's pari-mutuel racetracks will be open for full-card simulcasting throughout the year. Since the introduction of full-card simulcasting in 1996, live racing dates have declined by 29%. In 1998, Michigan lost its premier Thoroughbred facility when Detroit Race Course closed.

"Today, simulcast wagering is responsible for approximately 90% of the total wagering handle at Michigan racetracks," Bacola said in a statement. "This marks an expansion in media technologies coupled with an overall consolidation within the industry."