08/16/2016 8:20PM

Hazel Park adds seven days to 2016 schedule

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Hazel Park Raceway will extend its live meet through Oct. 1, adding seven additional dates to its 2016 racing calendar.

The newly scheduled dates are Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10; Sunday, Sept. 18; Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24; and Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1. Post time for the new dates will be the usual 7:30 p.m. Eastern, except on Sunday, Sept. 18, when racing will begin at 4:30 p.m.

The meet was originally scheduled to comprise 30 days from May 27 to Sept. 3.

“We’ve had a good season so far,” said Ladd Biro, Hazel Park’s director of racing. “The horsemen wanted it, and of course, that’s natural because the longer they can stay in one place, they prefer to do that. The purse money was there, and that was one of the key issues.”

Biro said the unusual Sunday race date and post time came about because an event had already been scheduled on the property for the preceding Friday and Saturday when the plan was to end the meet Sept. 3.

Hazel Park management submitted a request to the Michigan Gaming Control Board to extend the meet by seven days on July 28. The board approved three of the dates but denied four, citing insufficient funds in its current fiscal year’s horse racing budget to regulate all seven dates. On Monday, the Michigan legislature authorized additional funds allowing the dates to be run, and the board issued a new executive order approving the full request.

The meet extension comes in stark contrast to Hazel Park’s 2015 season, which ended a month prematurely due to insufficient purse funds and moved the state’s signature Michigan Sire Stakes card up from mid-September to its new closing day in early August.

This year’s Sire Stakes card is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 3.

“We’re still plugging along,” Biro said. “We don’t have to turn out the lights on Labor Day. We’ll continue to go, and we might have a few more promotions along the way. It should be fun.”