After nearly 70 years of horse racing, the Hazel Park Raceway has closed its doors effective Thursday, April 5, 2018.
There will be no more live horse races during the summer. No more watching simulcast horse races from around the country. No more old men handicapping every race in their Daily Racing Form while smoking a pack of cigarettes.
When the news broke of the closure I was so sad. I spent so much time there when I was younger. My older sister was involved in the world of horse racing, so we spent a lot of time at the track.
Hazel Park was the first 5/8ths mile track in the United States. When the track opened in 1949 it was a duel-breed track which allowed thoroughbred and harness racing. It then became a harness only track between 1985 and 2013. In 2014 the track went back to thoroughbred racing.
The race track shared the news of the closure with the public with sign on the doors and on the Hazel Park website.
“After nearly 70 years, Hazel Park Raceway is closing effective April 5, 2018. We want to express our heartfelt appreciation to our employees, visitors, supporters and long-standing community partners.”
Up until recently the website was hiring for seasonal employees for the upcoming race season.
Unfortunately the 90 employees that worked at Hazel Park are no without a job. According to the press release Hazel Park has offered it’s employees assistance in finding a new job.
There is also an agreement to sell off all of the assets at Hazel Park. There is no word on what the deal entails.
Northville Downs is now the only horse track in Michigan.