Hazel Park final lost the fight to continue operating on April 5. However, Hazel Park, which is near Detroit, has the distinction of being the last Thoroughbred racetrack operating in the state of Michigan. Hazel Park was first developed as an auto racing facility in 1948, Hazel Park operated as a Thoroughbred and Standardbred racetrack from 1949-1984. It conducted harness racing exclusively from 1985-2013 and converted to an exclusive Thoroughbred racetrack in 2014.
The racetrack, which was scheduled to open for training on April 5, 2018 for its opening day May 4, announced on its website that the track is “effectively closed,” but did not provide further details.
A release from the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association indicated on April 5, 2018 the owner of Hazel Park, Hartman and Tyner, Inc., had sold the property and that horses stabled on the grounds have until April 15 “to vacate the barn area.”
“Given these circumstances, horsemen who intended to stable at Hazel Park for the upcoming Hazel Park meet are urged to contact tracks in surrounding states for stall applications,” the Michigan HBPA statement said. “The HBPA will also contact tracks in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, etc., to explain the predicament for Michigan horsemen and will request whatever helpful accommodation that can be made for those horsemen with stall assignments at Hazel Park. This is an exceptionally sad day for Michigan horsemen and our racing fans, our suppliers, farmers, and agriculture providers. Before there were casinos, state lotteries, charity poker rooms, and internet betting, there was horse racing. Since 1933, Thoroughbred horse racing has played a vital role in Michigan’s equine-agricultural environment.”