Pinnacle Race Course

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Horse Race Track
Pinnacle Race Course
Location Huron Township, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Owned by Jerry Campbell
Year opened 2008
Year closed Nov. 3, 2010
Race type Thoroughbred
Website [1]
Principal Races – Pinnacle Race Course
Michigan Derby

Pinnacle Race Course is a failed attempt to start a new thoroughbred horse racing track in Huron Township, Michigan, southwest of Detroit off of Interstate 275.[1] The track was just south of the Detroit Metro Airport, in Wayne County. The track was built on land owned by Wayne County, and the county lost $36 million when it failed.[1]

Development and opening[edit]

The track was described by Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano as an experiment in cutting red tape. Ficano said, "I see this as an experiment to see if we can deliver speed, speed, speed..."[2] Ficano was convinced by Republic Bancorp founder Jerry Campbell that a track would be viable in Wayne County, and would generate 2,300 permanent jobs.[2] Based on this Wayne County sold the developer 320 acres of land for $1, and spent $26 million building roads, and installing sewer and water to the site.[2]

The track opened on July 18, 2008. The track was rushed into operation in the summer of 2008 to replace Muskegon's Great Lakes Downs on the Michigan racing schedule. Magna Entertainment Corporation closed Great Lakes Downs in November 2007 after years of financial losses.

Physical attributes[edit]

The track was a one-mile dirt oval, with plans to build a 7/8-mile turf course by 2010.

The track opened with a 1,000-seat temporary grandstand, with a 4,000-seat permanent grandstand expected to be complete by 2010.

Both of these projected upgrades never started.


The inaugural season of thoroughbred racing started July 18, 2008, ending November 2, 2008. The long-term plans call for racing annually from March through November, with the Michigan Derby for three-year-olds running in April, as a prep race for the Kentucky Derby.

In 2010 live racing was cut to Saturdays and Sundays only, 44 days in all, due to a budget reduction in the state's racing commission. The track also has reportedly not paid many of their bills in 2010 and had their utilities cut-off for a time[3] and as of February 2011 their website was down.[4]

On Nov. 3, 2010, Pinnacle Race Course surrendered its license back to the State of Michigan due to mounting financial problems. After doing so, the race track suspended all operations, giving no word on whether they would re-open or not. As of April 1, 2011, foreclosure proceedings are now in effect. Notices signifying such a situation are now prominently displayed on doors and windows of the building.[5]

By 2014, the track was definitely permanently closed and was demolished in 2016.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Detroit Free Press, "Scandals derail 30-year political career for Ficano", by John Wisely, page 8A, August 7, 2014
  2. ^ a b c Detroit Free Press, Audit says Wayne Co. blew $35.2M on plan, by John Wisely, (Jul 27, 2011), page A.3
  3. ^ Shea, Bill. Pinnacle Race Course offers minority stake: Financial whoa: Track owners seek to tighten reins, Crain's Detroit Business, November 4, 2010, Retrieved 2011-2-14
  4. ^, retrieved 2011-02-14
  5. ^ Jenkins, Rich. HURON TWP: Township to play lesser role in Pinnacle foreclosure, The News Herald, January 14, 2012, Retrieved 2012-1-14

Coordinates: 42°10′23.83″N 83°21′50.47″W / 42.1732861°N 83.3640194°W / 42.1732861; -83.3640194