Michigan’s lone remaining racetrack following Hazel Park’s closure is Northville Downs, a Standardbred facility on the northwest outskirts of Detroit.
Kutlenios said he was exploring options for the future of Thoroughbred racing in the state, but that Northville Downs was not appropriate for Thoroughbreds, and that there have been no discussions about the possibility of running there. Northville Downs applied for a Thoroughbred meet license for the 2014 season, but it did not meet the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s deadlines for converting the track for the breed.
In the meantime, Kutlenios said he did not expect Michigan will have a live Thoroughbred meet in 2018.
“We have no place to go,” he said. “The horsemen are scattering right now, so even if we were to find something that just amazingly appeared for us, the horsemen have a business to run. Having them come back would be a tall order. Even if we were to find something, horse supply would certainly be the first issue that would come up. It would be dicey, even if we could find something.”
Hartman & Tyner, a Detroit-area property management company, has been in the midst of upheaval in recent years, which has escalated since the death of co-founder and CEO Herbert Tyner in 2015. The Hartman and Tyner families were locked in a years-long legal battle against each other that was settled in July 2017.
Longtime vice president Daniel Adkins filed suit against the company and its principals in January for selling its Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla., for far less than market value, costing himself and the company millions. The defendants filed a counter-suit against Adkins for mismanagement.
The company also sold its Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, a Greyhound track in West Virginia, earlier this year.
Mary Kay Bean, communications specialist for the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said in a statement from the governing body that the announcement was not surprising given the company’s recent history. The property value for real estate development likely exceeds the profits from racing.
“The Michigan Gaming Control Board will enforce the requirements of Michigan law related to the closure of Hazel Park Raceway,” Bean said. “Our agency will ensure the track makes arrangements for bettors to redeem any unpaid winning pari-mutuel wagering tickets issued at the track by June 5.”
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