Hazel Park Raceway

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Hazel Park Raceway
Location Hazel Park, Michigan
Coordinates 42°28′25″N 83°05′11″W / 42.47361°N 83.08639°W / 42.47361; -83.08639Coordinates: 42°28′25″N 83°05′11″W / 42.47361°N 83.08639°W / 42.47361; -83.08639
Owned by Hartman & Tyner
Date opened 1949
Race type harness racing
Official website

Hazel Park Raceway located in Hazel Park, Michigan is a harness race track offering live harness racing every Friday, Saturday and Monday night May through August and simulcast wagering 7 days a week all year long on thoroughbred and harness races from across the US and Canada. Admission is free and so is parking. Fun and excitement for individuals, groups and family. During live racing you can get up close and personal with the horses trackside in front of the grandstands in a fun festive atmosphere or from the comforts of the clubhouse dining room located on the first turn. Live racing starts at 7:35pm and the doors open for simulcasting at 11:30am daily.

During live racing (May–August) food is available either from the many concession stands located throughout the facility, from the Top of The Park Grill located on the 4th floor of the Clubhouse or in the clubhouse dining room. On simulcast days food and beverages are available at the concession stand on the 3rd floor or the Top of The Park Grill located on the 4th floor of the Clubhouse.

Currently owned by Bernard Hartman and Herbert Tyner, owners of Hartman and Tyner Inc., it generates roughly $550,000 in revenue for the City of Hazel Park and is one of Michigan's largest and most profitable raceways.[1]

History[edit]

The track length of 5/8th of a mile was the first of its kind in the nation.

In the latter 1940’s a group of auto racing enthusiasts purchased 140 acres of landfill property on the Southwest corner of 10 Mile Road and Dequindre Road to build an auto racing track. Construction began on the 5/8th mile track but soon came to a grinding halt because of financial troubles with the project.

Bad news for auto racing but good news for horse racing since a successful area businessman with a love for horse racing purchased the property from the now defunct auto racing enterprise. In the early summer of 1949 with the race track itself already in place, Hazel Park Raceway went to work on converting the facility to a horse racing venue. Hazel Park Raceway opened its doors on August 17, 1949 with its first thoroughbred meet and the first harness meet was held in the spring of 1953. The track was maintained as a dual-breed facility from 1949 through 1984. The track has been exclusive to Standardbred harness horse racing since 1985. Hazel Park was the first 5/8th mile horseracing track in the United States and holds the moniker of "The Pioneer Track".

With new state legislation in 1996 Hazel Park Raceway began offering live simulcast wagering year-round 7 days a week on thoroughbred and harness races from across the US and Canada. Patrons can now wager on races from North America’s major race tracks in the simulcast lounges located on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors of the clubhouse. This allows people to wager on the biggest races in North America no matter where they are including The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, The Belmont, The Hambletonian, The Little Brown Jug and The Breeder’s Cup.

In 2004 Hazel Park Raceway tore down the old grandstands and constructed a new 40,000 square foot multi-million dollar structure which includes modern grandstands, press box and gaming facility. Things are still on hold with the gaming part of the structure pending legislative action but the grandstands is home to Action On The Apron, a party atmosphere with an outdoor bar and live band. Here patrons get an up-close and personal view of the horses and plenty of action, perfect for today’s younger crowd. The clubhouse has seen some minor renovations throughout the years and you can enjoy the action from the comfort of their beautiful dining room located in the Clubhouse on the first turn. In addition to the dining room, and many concession stands located throughout the facility, they have added the Top of The Park Grill located on the 4th floor of the Clubhouse.

Planned expansions[edit]

Gaming center[edit]

The main building hosts simulcast races, a poker room, and a restaurant.

In 2004 the raceway put millions of dollars into their facilities in anticipation that state legislation would approve the building of video lottery products. Although the legislation never passed, Hazel Park still built a new grandstand and a 40,000 square foot expansion fulfilling their commitment to the industry in hopes of future gaming opportunities. As of 2007, the raceway still hopes to get permission from the state to build the gambling facility.[2] At the moment, the raceway does provide a poker room that hosts both Texas Hold'em and Blackjack and also holds charity games of Texas Hold'em throughout the year.

Stable fire[edit]

In June 1987, a fire started at the Hazel Park Harness Raceway, killing 15 of the 26 horses present at the time. The average value of a horse in the stable at that time was approximately $15,000. The fire started in a housing barn located about 500 yards from the grandstand while races were still being held. The fire was finally contained after 30 minutes of burning; the origin of the fire is unknown.[3]

Special events[edit]

"Million Dollar Night of Racing"[edit]

On Saturday, September 29, 2001, The Hazel Park Harness Raceway hosted the "Million Dollar Night of Racing". At the time, this was the largest purse event ever held at a Michigan horse racing facility, with purses exceeding $1 Million. It featured 8 Sire Stakes, and attracted over 10,000 people including industry leaders, and state officials.[4]

William C. Connors Memorial[edit]

The William C. Connors Memorial is an annual race that is frequently held at the Hazel Park Harness Raceway. This race features a one mile (1.6 km) race for three year old trotters and a purse of $100,000.[5]

Annual fireworks[edit]

On Independence Day and Labor Day, fireworks are launched at the Hazel Park Harness Raceway for public viewing. This is usually done after the last race of the evening.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Louwers, Brian "Stakeholders react to possibility of reduced racing days City manager said reductions could cost city more than $180, 000 annually "-June 3, 2009-"Madison-Park News (MI)" http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=128953B1E22A9118&p_docnum=9&s_dlid=DL0109111122291013543&s_ecproduct=SUB-FREE&s_ecprodtype=INSTANT&s_trackval=&s_siteloc=&s_referrer=&s_subterm=Subscription%20until%3A%2012%2F31%2F2015%2011%3A59%20PM&s_docsbal=%20&s_subexpires=12%2F31%2F2015%2011%3A59%20PM&s_docstart=&s_docsleft=&s_docsread=&s_username=cgpfree&s_accountid=AC0106122119130516735&s_upgradeable=no
  2. ^ Adragna,Jeremy "Support continues to grow for Hazel Park slot machines "-October 4, 2007-"Troy Times (MI)"http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=11C1A7ACD90A7A08&p_docnum=26&s_dlid=DL0109111122351523901&s_ecproduct=SUB-FREE&s_ecprodtype=INSTANT&s_trackval=&s_siteloc=&s_referrer=&s_subterm=Subscription%20until%3A%2012%2F31%2F2015%2011%3A59%20PM&s_docsbal=%20&s_subexpires=12%2F31%2F2015%2011%3A59%20PM&s_docstart=&s_docsleft=&s_docsread=&s_username=cgpfree&s_accountid=AC0106122119130516735&s_upgradeable=no
  3. ^ "Hazel Park fire claims several horses." -June 11, 1987-"Ludington Daily News" http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=110&dat=19870611&id=qO0LAAAAIBAJ&sjid=olUDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5542,3176545
  4. ^ "Michigan Track Features Million Dollar Night of Racing, September 29."-Sept 27, 2001-"PR Newswire" http://find.galegroup.com/gps/retrieve.do?subjectParam=Locale%2528en%252CUS%252C%2529%253AFQE%253D%2528SU%252CNone%252C26%2529hazel%2Bpark%2Bharness%2Braceway%2524&contentSet=IAC-Documents&sort=DateDescend&tabID=T004&sgCurrentPosition=0&subjectAction=DISPLAY_SUBJECTS&prodId=IPS&searchId=R3&currentPosition=4&userGroupName=lom_emichu&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&sgHitCountType=None&qrySerId=Locale%28en%2CUS%2C%29%3AFQE%3D%28KE%2CNone%2C26%29hazel+park+harness+raceway%24&inPS=true&searchType=BasicSearchForm&displaySubject=&docId=A78686514&docType=IAC&contentSet=IAC-Documents
  5. ^ Hazel Park Harness Raceway Website, Track History http://hazelparkraceway.com/VisitorInfo/History/

External links[edit]