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If you want to bet on the horses at Northville Downs in Michigan, you will have to move fast. The racetrack, which opened back in 1944, could be on its final straight. Housing developer Hunter Pasteur purchased the site and, in November 2022, the local authorities approved a plan to replace the racetrack with private housing. The horses will continue to run at Northville Downs for the 2023 season, but after that the future of the track is uncertain.

That's a blow for the equestrian community in Michigan. Northville Downs is the last remaining racecourse in the state. Its closure could spell the end for legal pari-mutuel betting in Michigan dating back to 1933. Before it goes, let's take a look at what the historic racetrack has to offer. Read on for a detailed review of Northville Downs Michigan.

About Northville Downs in Michigan

Northville Downs is Detroit's last surviving racecourse. Once, the state of Michigan had nine tracks, most of them offering thoroughbred racing. Today, Northville Downs is the only one, and it is exclusively a harness racing track.

Worse still, the future is bleak. A housing developer has purchased the site and in the fall of 2022 development plans got the go-ahead from the local authority. By 2024, racing in Michigan could be no more.

The problem, in a nutshell, is a lack of attractions at racetracks. In other states, many courses have reinvented themselves as 'racinos', offering slots and sometimes table games as well as betting on the ponies. Michigan, though, has not followed suit. Northville Downs is unable to offer any sort of casino game or sports betting. The state's tribal casinos are fiercely protective of their monopoly. As recently as 2021, a proposal to allow racetracks to operate slots that pay out based on historic horse racing results was blocked following lobbying from casino operators.

Today, Northville Park is a shadow of its former self. The historic track, which opened its doors in 1944, still has plenty of atmosphere. However, it lacks many modern facilities that could turn it into a family-friendly, 21st-century venue. With the developers knocking on the door, it seems unlikely that it will ever get those upgrades now.

Horse betting at Northville Downs

Betting at Northville Downs is all about the ponies. While other racetracks have diversified into sports betting, Michigan casinos and even hotel resorts, Northville Downs keeps it old school. Visitors can wager on the live harness racing action, or bet on the simulcast markets from races up and down the USA.

Racing takes place at Northville Downs on Friday and Saturday evenings. Pari-mutuel betting is available on all evening races, although there may be some trial events for young horses ahead of the main card. Typically there might be up to 12 races on an evening's card, so there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy a few bets during your night out. The first race usually starts at 7 p.m.

Alternatively, bettors can use the simulcast suite to wager on races from anywhere in the USA. The simulcast hall has big screens with all the live action from across the country, plus betting terminals to handle your wagers. Doors open at 11 a.m. The course's Trotside Restaurant provides food and drink concessions for customers during the day's racing.

In addition, Northville Downs has a partnership with TVG. This enables betting on horses online from anywhere in Michigan.

Is there sports betting at Northville Downs?

There is no sports betting available at Northville Downs. The only gambling options are betting on the live racing or the simulcast facility. Given the imminent closure of the racetrack, there are no plans to introduce sports betting here in future either.

How do I place a bet at Northville Downs?

Betting on the horses can seem daunting at first. However, once you break it down, it's straightforward - even for a beginner. Check out our guide and you'll soon be betting like a pro.

  1. Select the track to bet on - With simulcast betting available from all around the USA, you need to be clear about whether you're betting on the live action at Northville Downs or following the out-of-state racing.
  2. Choose a race and wager the desired amount - Often, people just want to bet on the next race. However, it's not compulsory to wager on every event on the card. Another handy tip: set a betting budget and stick to it. Don't be suckered into chasing your losses.
  3. Pick what kind of wager to bet on - This is where rookies can get confused. The straight bets are simple enough. You're just choosing a horse to win the race, or finish in the top two or three places. The exotic bets are more complex. For example, exactas, trifectas and superfectas require you to choose the top two, three or four horses in the correct finishing order. As you can imagine, it's a big ask. However, the wins are also big if you can make the right calls.
  4. Choose your horse(s) - In harness racing, you might look for a driver on a hot streak. Alternatively, you might watch out for which starting traps tend to produce winners on the night. The form and breeding of the horses is also worth studying. However, away from these methodical approaches, many bettors prefer to follow a blind hunch, or back the horse with the funniest name. Whichever way you want to play it, the choice is all yours.
  5. Place your bet - Just go to the betting kiosk and state all the key information. You'll need to give the track name, the race number and the size of your stake. Additionally, of course, you will have to explain your chosen horses, and the type of bet you wish to place. Always keep your ticket so you can claim any winnings after the race. Good luck!

Northville Downs’s entertainment & cuisine

Diners at Northville Downs don't have to miss any of the action. The racetrack restaurant has a panoramic view of the course, so you can cheer on your horses while you eat.

  • Trotside Restaurant - Open every race night, Trotside Restaurant seats 250 diners. The Saturday night 'all you can eat' buffet is a particular hit. It offers carvery-style roast ham and roast beef, plus salad bar and desserts, all for $24.95 per person. On other race nights, Trotside has a selection of burgers and sandwiches, a pizza menu and a clutch of sports bar favorites.

Contact & opening hours

Address: 301 South Center Road, Northville, MI 48167
Opening hours: Doors open at 11 a.m. every day for simulcasting. Live racing runs April through December on Friday and Saturday evenings. The first race is off at 7 p.m.
Website: www.northvilledowns.com/100-years-of-racing-in-northville
Phone number: 248-349-1000


Is there free WiFi at Northville Downs in Michigan?

No, Northville Downs does not have a customer WiFi connection. Moreover, there is no on-course app to allow visitors to place wagers without queuing at the betting kiosks. This is very much a historic racecourse rather than a contemporary one.

Can you smoke in Northville Downs Michigan?

There is a designated smoking area at Northville Downs racetrack. However, in line with Michigan state laws on smoking in public places, the site is mostly no-smoking outside of that specific area.

Is Northville Downs the biggest race track in Michigan?

Yes, Northville Downs is the biggest racetrack in Michigan. Indeed, at present it is the only active track in the state. At least eight other courses have operated during a century of horse racing history in Michigan, but Northville Downs is the only one still standing.