02/10/2014 4:47PM

Mount Pleasant Meadows stops simulcasting


Mount Pleasant Meadows in central Michigan suspended simulcast operations on Saturday, per a decision by the track’s board of directors, said the president of the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

The track did not conduct simulcast wagering on Saturday or Sunday, and is normally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Racetrack officials were in meetings on Monday to determine the track’s long-term future.

George Kutlenios, president of the Michigan HBPA, said that a group of investors consisting of Michigan Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse industry members decided to pull its funding to the track. The funding was being used to maintain simulcast operations over the winter, prompting the action from the track’s board.

The possibility of a live meet at Mount Pleasant still exists if adequate funding is found. Mount Pleasant is scheduled to conduct 16 days of live racing in 2014 from May 3-June 22, as approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board in January.

Based on the Isabella County Fairgrounds in Mount Pleasant, Mich., Mount Pleasant Meadows has been in operation since 1985. The four-furlong oval primarily functioned as a mixed breed track until 2011 when it became the state’s primary Thoroughbred venue upon the closure of Pinnacle Race Course.

If Mount Pleasant does not conduct live dates, Michigan’s Thoroughbred season will be scheduled to open June 29 at Hazel Park Raceway. Hazel Park, located in suburban Detroit, was approved by the Gaming Board to host Thoroughbred racing for the first time since 1984.

Northville Downs, another converted harness track in the Detroit area, was approved for Thoroughbred dates in the fall, contingent on renovations to the facility and racing surface.

“Our meet at Hazel Park is still going forward, and we have every plan of being there on June 28 for a soft opening,” Kutlenios said. “We plan to write Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and light horse races at Hazel Park. It was always part of the plan. We just thought we’d have the 16 days at Mount Pleasant.

“It’s reflective of how tough it is in Michigan. These tracks are all struggling. Everyone’s having problems. It makes it difficult to try to plan anything.”

Outstanding tickets purchased at Mount Pleasant Meadows may be cashed in the track’s simulcast area beginning Wednesday, Feb. 12, from noon to 5 p.m Eastern. Tickets may be cashed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb 13-14, as well as Feb. 17-21.