SWARTZ CREEK, MI — The state has approved licenses that will allow 26 days of thoroughbred horse racing at Sports Creek in 2019, provided a sale or lease of the property can be arranged by Dec. 1.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced the conditional license approvals in a news release Wednesday, Oct. 31, opening the door to horse race dates on Fridays and Saturdays from June 14 until Sept. 7.
AmRace & Sports LLC, which applied for the licenses, had requested 30 live-racing days in its application.
“We are cautiously optimistic about the reopening of Sports Creek and the re-establishment of thoroughbred racing in Michigan,” Richard Kalm, executive director of MGCB, said in a news release.
“The track must meet several licensing conditions before simulcasting and live thoroughbred racing can begin next year. It’s good for the industry when fans can enjoy both harness and thoroughbred racing live in Michigan.”
In addition to Sports Creek, the MGCB approved licenses for 44 days of live standardbred racing at Northville Downs.
Northville was the only site of live horse racing in Michigan in 2018.
The state’s action for Sports Creeks comes after AmRace applied for licenses to allow reopening the facility that’s been shuttered since January 2015.
The company has confirmed it’s involved in talks to buy the property but hasn’t completed a deal.
MLive-The Flint Journal could not immediately reach Nelson E. Clemmens, principal member of AmRace, which must complete a lease, contract or agreement to use the track at Morrish Road and I-69.
On or before Dec. 28, AmRace must also sign an agreement with the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, complete a fire inspection and detail plans for security and emergency preparedness, according to the order granting the licenses.
If conditions are met, AmRace may offer simulcasting after Jan. 1 and throughout the year, the MGCB news release says.
Officials for the MHPA have said the Sports Creek track, which was built for harness — or standardbred — racing, will require modifications before thoroughbred racing can start.