09/24/2002 11:00PM

Great Lakes Downs track report


MUSKEGON, Mich. - The EQTAH company headed by Andy Stronach has requested 45 days of mixed-breed racing next year from the Michigan racing commission for a planned facility in Webberville, Mich., just east of Lansing. The meet would run from September through November and compete with Great Lakes Downs, which asked the commission for its regular dates from late April through late October.

Great Lakes Downs, owned by the Magna Entertainment Company of Frank Stronach, who is not involved with EQTAH, is the lone Thoroughbred-only track in the state.

Gary Tinkle, the executive director of the Michigan Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said that there were too many unknowns connected with the project for him to lend support to it at this time.

"Obviously, we're not for anything that would hurt Great Lakes Downs or MEC," said Tinkle. "We'll wait for the hearing to find out more."

A public hearing on the project will be held by the racing commission on Oct. 2.

"We should know more on the second," said Dominic Perrone of the commissioner's office. "It was a bit of a shock to get two additional applications in two days at deadline."

The application, filed on Aug. 30, came on the heels of a Magna proposal to build a Thoroughbred track in Romulus, near the Detroit airport.

The commission has until Nov. 1 to award dates.

* Jockey Colin Skinner, who has ridden occasionally at Great Lakes Downs, had a pick-up winner on Monday evening to go with two others for a hat trick. He was aboard favored Systems Go in the second before bringing home longshot Christiejeau ($61) in the fifth. Joe Judice was thrown from his mount in that race. Uninjured but shaken, Judice was excused from the rest of his mounts and Skinner then picked up the mount on eighth-race winner I Ain't Talkin.