05/20/2003 11:00PM

Great Lakes Downs: 'Romeo' wins


MUSKEGON, Mich. - Secret Romeo, the 2002 horse of the year at Great Lakes Downs, made a triumphant return to the track Saturday evening when he won the featured eighth race allowance. A 5-year-old son of Service Stripe, Secret Romeo raced unhurried early in the 5 1/2-furlong event, circled the field five wide on the first turn, then began passing rivals quickly. Ridden by Freddie Mata, Secret Romeo was four lengths ahead of a former Great Lakes champion, That Gift, on the far turn, then won by nearly three lengths over Tenerumi in a time of 1:08.80. Gerald Bennett trains for owner Tony Catenacci.

* Michigan-bred 3-year-olds take center stage this weekend in the first pair of stakes races of the Great Lakes season. Magna Cum Laude, Mercedees Red, and Jean's Way will face seven other fillies in Friday's $45,000 Regret Stakes at six furlongs.

Akatsakat, winner of the Michigan Futurity in October, will face five of his contemporaries in Saturday's $45,000 Lansing Stakes, at six furlongs.

* Mary Doser leads all riders through Tuesday's races, thanks in part to four consecutive victories Saturday evening.

* Veteran rider Luis Martinez booted home three winners Monday evening, starting with Fleet America in the fifth race. Martinez then won back-to-back races, both for trainer Bob Gorham.

* Luis Dominguez saddled Somethinaboutmaggi to win the fourth race Monday, giving him five winners in seven starts. Trainer Del Waite had a pair of winners for owners Larry and Maris Day Tuesday evening.