Horse racing fans in Michigan have some live events to enjoy come January.
According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), the Northville Downs race track requested to host several races between January 5th and February 3rd. As of November 20th, the MGCB approved the request!
As Michigan’s only horse racing track, it will likely be a busy month come January. The track is scheduled to host ten live harness race days every Friday and Saturday between January 5th and February 3rd.
The last time we featured Northville Downs on our site was back in January 2023. At the time, the owners, siblings John and Mike Carlo, were adamant that 2023 would be the last season at the original Northville Downs track. The brothers have been planning to move the track from Northville, MI, to Plymouth Township, MI, but opposition and lack of development have slowed the transition.
Throughout the 2023 race season, the 80-year-old track hosted over 52 race days. The track was actually planning on hosting its last race at the original track on September 30th. Northville Downs was able to extend its season by a successful petition filed with the MGCB until the Friday after Thanksgiving. Since then, however, the Northville Downs community was approved to feature more races in January and February 2024.
The Northville Downs racetrack has had plans to relocate the track since 2018. Owners have already sold the property to Hunter Pasteur Homes, who will turn the land into a mixed-use development space. Hundreds of homes are expected to be built where the track currently sits, as well as new commercial buildings and “green spaces”. Hunter Pasteur Homes recently gained approval to move forward with their project but understandably can’t progress much while the racetrack stands.
Will We See Construction Begin in 2024?
The question remains: will the new Northville Downs of Plymouth Township begin construction next year?
Unfortunately, the answer is unclear. Several residents and township officials have opposed the project in Plymouth Township. There is even a website devoted to stopping the project where residents can sign a petition opposing the track.
Despite the opposition, several community members have no problem with a new horse racing track.
Northville Mayor Brian Turnbull recently commented on the development, calling the project, “the most deliberated project in the state of Michigan’s history.”
Turnbull actually worked at the track parking cars in his youth. “Northville Downs and horse racing has been part of what Northville’s been all about,” said Turnbull. “We were the first lit harness racing track. It is nostalgic. A lot of people are going down there because we all grew up there. Not only has there been harness racing there, there’s been thoroughbred racing, a stock car race, snowmobile races, and motorcycle races on that track. It’s part of what Northville is all about and it’s integrated into our downtown. It’s bittersweet.”
According to the MGCB, the track will have options come February. They can apply for more races for the 2024 season, shut down operations, or stay at the original track long-term.
Mike Carlo also commented on the 2024 season, “We are pleased to be able to offer our horsemen, women, fans, and neighbors additional live racing days in 2024 to celebrate our 80th anniversary. While it is bittersweet that this will be our last stand at the old facility, we look forward to a brighter future for harness racing in Michigan as we move on to our next endeavor and cannot wait to bring a new facility to our fans in the near future.”
Would you like to see the racetrack move to Plymouth Township?
Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com