It’s a full racecard in 2021 for horse racing fans in Michigan, with Northville Downs scheduled to run 54 days in the coming year, the Michigan Gaming Control Board announced in a press release.
In addition, Northville Downs will also be featuring simulcast races and simulcast pari-mutuel wagering throughout the year, excepting for April 4, Nov. 25, and Dec. 24 and 25.
“It has been a challenging year for live horse racing, and we hope the 2021 season will go well,” Richard S. Kalm, the MGCB executive director, said in the release.
Kalm noted Michigan bettors can also place wagers on the ponies online, thanks to a December 2019 change in the Michigan Horse Racing Law of 1995 and the MGCB’s rollout of the change this past May.
“The added option of mobile betting approved this year provides extra support for Michigan’s horse racing industry and may draw new fans to the sport,” Kalm said.
The standardbred horse racing season at Northville Downs fires out of the gate in 2021 on March 19, completing the first half of the season June 26. Live racing will return Oct. 1 and run through Dec. 18.
COVID-19 causes 2020 reduction
In 2020, Northville Downs was scheduled for 52 days of racing, a number that ended up being reduced to 36 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those 36 days include the 18 added by order on Oct. 6. The 2020 season is running through Dec. 12.
Also, for the second year in a row, a second potential site for horse racing was nixed.
AmRace & Sports LLC filed applications to race thoroughbreds at the Sports Creek Raceway near Flint, but the MGCB deemed their application incomplete, as it lacked required supporting information. The group had attempted to gain licensure in 2019 to run horses this year, received the conditional support of the MGCB, but later surrendered its application.
Sports Creek Raceway ran harness races from 1986 to 2014, and AmRace & Sports LLC purchased the property in 2018.