05/05/2011 1:28PM

Pinnacle Race Couse will not hold a meet this year


Pinnacle Race Course, the troubled racetrack that opened in 2008 south of Detroit, has voluntarily surrendered its racing license and simulcast permit, according to an order issued by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

The surrender scuttles any possibility that Pinnacle would re-open this year after being beset by financial problems in 2010. The track raced 44 dates last year and was open as a simulcasting venue until November, when it shut down, citing cost overruns.

Gary Tinkle, the executive director of the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said on Thursday that it does not appear that any efforts will be made this year to re-open the track, though he said that horsemen were hopeful that Pinnacle would apply for dates in 2012.

“Unfortunately, this is not the sport of kings in Michigan,” Tinkle said. “This is a sport of families.”

Richard Kalm, the executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said that the surrender of the license would not prevent Pinnacle for re-applying for a license in 2012, but he noted that Pinnacle would need to comply with minimum requirements for racetracks in the state, such as staying current on its bills.

“They need to get their house in order, and hopefully that is going to happen,” Kalm said.

The order, signed by Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm, states that it “does not preclude [Pinnacle] from continuing to resolve its financial viability issues and to submit an application for the 2012 racing season.”

Horsemen are continuing to accrue funds for purses from the simulcasting of Thoroughbred races at harness tracks in the state. Those funds are being held in an escrow account maintained by the state.

Last year, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm slashed the budget for the state’s Office of the Racing Commissioner, which provided funds for the salaries of personnel who were required to be present for live racing. Though Pinnacle and the local horsemen’s group joined together to pay the state a portion of the salaries, the budget cut led Pinnacle to cancel half of its previously scheduled race dates.

Pinnacle is owned by Jerry Campbell, a former Michigan banker who owns and breeds Thoroughbreds.