07/06/2006 12:00AM

Great Lakes track report


Federico Mata, a two-time riding champion at Great Lakes Downs, returned to the saddle last Saturday after being sidelined for about five months and lost no time finding his way back to the winner's circle, winning with his first mount.

Mata won the third race with Jr Madeitpossible, who is owned and trained by one of his longtime clients, Odin Londono Sr. Jr Madeitpossible ($8.20) broke on top and led all the way.

Mata, the top rider at Great Lakes in 1999 and 2003, was injured in a racing mishap at Tampa Bay Downs in February. He broke his leg in two places when his mount ran through the inner rail. At the time of the accident, he was in the top 10 in the Tampa standings.

After surgery, Mata rehabilitated at his family farm near Ocala, Fla. In late May, he was back to work galloping horses at a training center close to his home in preparation for his Michigan return.

* Mata made it back to the track in time for Jockeys Across America Day on Saturday. Great Lakes bettered its effort from last year when more than $2,000 was raised for the Don MacBeth Fund.

Jorge Collazo Jr. won the jockeys' foot race, improving from his second-place finish in 2005.

Several jockeys were auctioned off as dinner dates, with apprentice Jareth Loveberry bringing the high bid of $100. Collazo's wife, Vanessa, organized the fund-raiser.