Michigan Forms Horse Racing Commission

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Michigan Governor Appoints Horse Racing Advisory Commission Members

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently named six members to the newly formed horse racing advisory commission. He created the HRAC earlier this year to govern both Hazel Park Raceway and Northville Downs.

Housed within the  Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the seven-member commission is intended to recommend legislative or regulatory improvements to horse racing in Michigan. The Michigan Gaming Control Board oversees horse racing in Michigan through a racing commissioner.

New board members will serve a four-year term, expiring Oct. 31, 2020.

The board was first conceived in July when Snyder signed a pair of bills into law updating the Michigan Horse Racing Law of 1995. Group members were to include a chairperson, the director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development or a designee, a veterinarian, one representative each from the Thoroughbred and Standardbred horsemen’s groups, and representatives from both of the state’s tracks.

The chairperson is Don Ryker. He is the owner of the equine veterinary practice Don Ryker DMV and Associates, is an adjunct professor at Michigan State University, and an instructor for the veterinary technician program at Wayne State University.

Frank Nickels is the appointed veterinarian. He is a professor at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he has worked for nearly 40 years. His memberships include the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Nancy Frank is the designee for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, where she serves as an assistant state veterinarian. Frank is an adjunct faculty member at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Thomas Barrett is president of the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association. He is vice president and market manager of The State Bank, and has been a licensed Standardbred owner, trainer, driver, and breeder over three decades in the industry.

George Kutlenios is president of the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. He is an owner and breeder in the state.

Mike Carlo is the Northville Downs operations manager and he’ll represent horse tracks. He’s a former marketing manager for the Daily Racing Form.

A representative for Thoroughbred track Hazel Park was not named to fill out the seventh and final spot.

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