Employees crushed by closing of Hazel Park Raceway

The Hazel Park Raceway has been a staple since 1949. On Thursday morning, employees and bettors arrived to a devastating notice: The thoroughbred track was shutting down for good.

The roughly 100 employees found out they were out of the job when showed up for said job at the track. 

"It's really sad. I have 10 guys working for me and I have to tell them we don't have a job," Keith Arbuckle said.

The notices were taped to the outside of the doors and the doors were locked. Longtime visitors called it a slap in the face.

Hazel Park Raceway closing after 70 years

"Sixty five years I've been coming here. And I wanna cry because it's just, I got a lot of memories," Ray Ruttan said.

"Its over. I don't know how I'm going to feed my family. I don't understand. I don't." Dave White said. 

White has been working at the track since high school and doesn't know where to turn now.

"This is my livelihood, horses. It's all I know," White said. "What am I gonna do now? I'm too old to get a job."

Although the raceway has faced financial issues before, employees say in the last two years business has been steady. But the raceway closed its doors at 1 a.m. due to financial issues. 

Willie Hutchinson has been going to the track for years and says rumors have been circulating all week.

"They had said they would wait until the Kentucky Derby but something must've happened," Hutchinson said. 

Folks with the raceway sent a press release saying there's been an agreement to sell the raceways assets within the next few weeks. Employees say they wish they'd gotten a heads up.

"They probably knew this all winter. They could've told us this last year, 6 to 7 months ago," White said.

The release went on to say that the Raceway understands the impact on families and will attempt to help affected employees in their search for new employment. These now-former employees don't seem to believe that.

"I don't believe nothing they say. It was horrible." Arbuckle said.

A spokesperson for the city says while they're sorry to see this iconic venue close, they're excited for new development in the city. Meanwhile, folks like White are unsure about their futures.

"I gotta start all over again. All over. I gotta go tell my family. It's over. It's over."