Plans are moving forward in the effort to bring horse racing back to Mid-Michigan.
The Sports Creek Raceway in Genesee County closed in 2015. It is among 13 tracks statewide that have closed in recent years as the attraction’s popularity declined.
“I am so excited that they’re opening again,” said Connie King, owner of Jan’s Bar in Swartz Creek.
New owners plan to breathe new life into the track in Swartz Creek.
King worked at the facility for more than a decade and is ecstatic about horse racing coming back.
“I hope it is everything they wanted it to be because it’s going to improve everybody’s business around here. Everyone will get something from it,” King said.
Nowadays, King owns Jan’s Bar and Grill in the city. She said when she switched jobs to start running the bar, the race track brought in a lot of customers.
“When the track was open we were packed at night afterwards,” King said.
The track closed down in 2015 after an almost 30-year run.
King thinks the economic impact of bringing it back will be huge.
“I made so much money working there. I’m not kidding. At first, I started working in the area where you ate. Then I got a bartender job, so I was up on top. It was wonderful. It was really great,” King said.
The property was recently purchased by Amwest Entertainment out of Kentucky, according to the Michigan Horsemen’s Association.
They say the goal of the company is to start simulcasting right away. They said they will be working on the track and other improvements as well.
Pat Marchand raced horses for years and welcomes the track back.
“I think they will really embrace it. They did before. We had people coming from Detroit, all over to go to the racetrack,” Marchand said.
TV5 reached out to the potential new owners, but they were not available for comment.
The Horsemen’s Association said the tentative race dates will begin in June.
“It was really really sad when it closed. I really missed it. In fact, If I wasn’t so old I would go back and work there,” King said.
Workers have already begun renovating the property. It is unclear how long it will take to complete renovations.