After nearly 70 years of operation, the Hazel Park Raceway has announced that it will be closing permanently. The current owners are negotiating a sale that could be closed in the coming weeks.

The raceway opened in 1949 and was the first 5/8th mile horseracing track in the United States. The track hosted live thoroughbred racing on weekends, and live simulcast wagering every day, year-round. The closure could prove devastating to the industry, as Hazel Park was one of two remaining horse racing tracks in the state of Michigan, and the only raceway to offer live thoroughbred racing.

In 2002, there were seven fully-licensed racetracks in Michigan, which generated nearly half a billion dollars of economic activity in the state. The closure of Hazel Park signals the end of the steadily declining industry and displaces the many involved in the track’s operations. Approximately 90 employees will be left without work and will be provided with resources to assist in their transition to new employment. In addition to the track’s employees, breeders, jockeys, and trainers will face struggles associated with the closure and possible relocation.

The 40 thoroughbred horses already housed in the track’s stables must now be vacated by April 15th, and those with plans to house their horses at the raceway during the 2018 season will have to make different arrangements. Those using, and planning on using, the Hazel Park stables have been encouraged to contact available stables in surrounding states.

According to a report in the Blood Horse publication, Hazel Park’s director of racetrack operations has not commented on the closure, but a firm has been hired to field questions and release details at a later date.


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