01/21/2002 12:00AM

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Veteran trainer George J. Maker died Saturday in Garden City, Mich., after a prolonged battle with brain cancer. Maker, 61, the leading trainer in 2000 at Great Lakes Downs, had been a fixture in Michigan racing since 1968, winning numerous training titles at Detroit Race Course. . . . River Downs in Cincinnati will hold a 122-day meet this year, highlighted by the major 2-year-old stakes on Labor Day weekend, the $200,000 Miller Genuine Draft Cradle at 1 1/16 miles and the $100,000 Pepsi Bassinet for fillies at six furlongs. The remaining 12 stakes on the schedule are restricted to Ohio-breds, the richest of which are the $100,000 Queen City Oaks for 3-year-old fillies and the $75,000 Governor's Buckeye Cup for older horses. . . . Maille Pistol, a two-time Group 2 winner who finished eighth as the even-money favorite in last year's French Derby for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget, will start a new career hurdling for trainer Marcel Rolland at Auteuil on March 3. His main objective will be the Prix Alain du Breil (French 4-year-old champion hurdle) in June. . . . Kitty Taylor Roden has formed a public Thoroughbred consignment agency, Warrendale Sales, in Georgetown, Ky.