Keeneland, Turfway Park will ban all toe grabs

Officials at Keeneland and Turfway Park announced a new horseshoe policy Thursday banning the use of toe grabs.

The announcement comes three days after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted unanimously to limit toe grabs on the front horseshoes of all Thoroughbreds in training or in competition on Kentucky tracks.

That rule change will need to go through the legislative rules process and a public comment period before taking effect, possibly this fall.

The policy at Keeneland and Turfway takes effect Sept. 1.

Rogers Beasley, Keeneland's director of racing, and Bob Elliston, president of Turfway Park, said in a joint statement: “We applaud the efforts of the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee, TOBA's Thoroughbred Action Committee and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to address safety in racing.”

The policy, which will apply to all horses training and racing on Keeneland's Polytrack and turf course, as well as Turfway's Polytrack, states, “No toe grabs, caulks, stickers, inserts, blocks, turndowns, trailers or heel extensions will be allowed on front or hind shoes. Only flat, Queen's Plate, Queen's Plate XT or equivalent may be used on the Polytrack or Turf.”

Pinnacle betting on Detroit

Pinnacle Race Course founder Jerry Campbell is gambling that Detroit will back his new Thoroughbred track. The Republic Bancorp founder says he and others plan to invest up to $142 million in the track, which opens Friday in the shadow of Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The question: Can Pinnacle succeed one year after Michigan's only other Thoroughbred track failed, even as the state's auto industry chokes on $4 a gallon gasoline and nearby casinos keep sucking money out of the horse racing business?

“It's a very tough economy right now,” said Campbell, who has been a racehorse owner for 35 years.

He said he studied the success of Detroit's big-league teams — the Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons and Lions — with the goal of creating “a first-class family entertainment venue that will bring the best of horse racing to Michigan.”

With a picnic area designed to appeal to parents with children and an emphasis on food service, Campbell said he wants to lure people who can easily take their entertainment dollars somewhere else.

“You've got to have the customers want to come, and come back, because it's a good experience,” he told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Government officials have placed a big side bet on Pinnacle. Wayne County handed over 320 prime acres for $1 in the hope of spurring development around the busy airport.