Snyder Names First Members to Statewide Horse Racing Commission: Crain’s 11/23/16

By: Lindsay Vanhulle

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday named six people to a new Horse Racing Advisory Commission, which was created through legislation he signed this year to update Michigan’s horse racing statute.

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.

Initial commission members include:

  • Don Ryker, of Ortonville, owner of equine veterinary practice Don Ryker DMV and Associates. He will be the commission’s chairman.
  • Thomas Barrett, of Novi, current president of the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association, who will represent statewide horse racing associations.
  • George Kutlenios, of Holly, who is president of the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, who will represent statewide horse racing associations.
  • Mike Carlo, of Northville, operations manager for standardbred track Northville Downs, who will represent horse tracks.
  • Nancy Frank, of Haslett, assistant state veterinarian for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
  • Frank Nickels, of Haslett, a professor at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Each member will serve a four-year term, which ends in October 2020.

Snyder in July signed legislation negotiated between Hazel Park Raceway and Northville Downs, the state’s two horse race tracks, and their respective horsemen’s groups, that replaces the common purse with a “site-specific” funding model that allows revenue collected from simulcast wagers to stay at the track at which the wager was made.