06/24/2003 11:00PM

Great Lakes track report


MUSKEGON, Mich. - A pair of stakes races and a near-stakes race are on tap this weekend at Great Lakes Downs. Friday's card features the $45,000 Plymouth Stakes for 3-year-old Michigan-bred fillies at seven furlongs. Colts and geldings run in the companion race, the $45,000 Spartan Stakes, on Saturday evening. A stellar field of fillies and mares will run in an allowance-optional claiming race later on Saturday's card.

Mercedees Red, winner of the May 24 Regret Stakes, will probably garner most of the public's support in the Plymouth. She survived a duel under jockey Colin Skinner to win the Regret by more than a length. Mercedees Red came back two weeks later and was humbled when she facing older fillies and mares in the Larkspur Stakes.

Akatsakat, handled by leading trainer Bob Gorham, will try to repeat the winning performance he gave in the Lansing Stakes when he faces eight rivals in the Spartan Stakes. Akatsakat, the winner of last year's Michigan Futurity, will get the services of leading rider Joe Judice, who was aboard in the Lansing.

Judice has taken a short lead in the local jockey standings despite serving a two-day suspension last week. Judice, who is fourth in the nation in wins, leads Freddie Mata by three wins with a total of 46.