2016 has been a year of dramatic changes to our industry and in the Racing Law that have impacted not only the current year but also our planning with Northville Downs for 2017. The mid-year switch to a site specific funding model, the anticipated implementation of ADW (Advanced Deposit Wagering) and the disposition of the escrowed funds from the 2014 Hazel Park meet are important components in trying assemble the best and most lucrative racing program for next year and beyond. Northville Downs is currently in the process of applying for race dates in 2017 and please do not be alarmed if the initial application is for less dates (50-54 days) than were raced in 2016 (60), as ND with support of the MHHA is taking a conservative approach to applying for dates based on money we fully believe will be available to race for. Both MHHA and ND believe that we will ultimately race for more days in 2017 than we did in 2016 but that is based on revenue sources from ADW that are not yet fully implemented. The 2017 Northville Downs meet is scheduled to begin in early March and continue through mid-June with a break until early September and racing through mid-December. We reviewed several race meet scenarios with ND and believe a break in the summer months provides the best opportunity to race at or more than the dates raced in 2016. Horsemen will not be paying starting fees in 2017.
After an ongoing series of negotiations with Hazel Park, MHHA was informed recently that as a result of the revenue uncertainty I outlined above, Hazel Park would not be applying for harness dates in 2017.
The Colt Stakes and Ag Equine funded mini-series races continue to be well received and well supported by Michigan horsemen. MHHA is committed to provide racing opportunities that will support and encourage breeding in Michigan and a Michigan sired colt stakes program that will provide value to Michigan sired horses and racing opportunities for these horses for years to come.
As the year winds to a close, I encourage all of you to become more active in your association via a board position, committee chair, committee position or volunteer. Please contact the MHHA office at 517-349-2920.
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