08/03/2004 11:00PM

Great Lakes track report

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LANSING, Mich. - About 500 members of the Michigan racing industry, representing Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse interests, traveled to the state capitol in Lansing on Wednesday to protest against House Bill 4612, which, if passed, would hurt the chances of the state's tracks gaining slot machines.

The protesters gathered at the capitol early Wednesday morning and lobbied members of the Legislature as they entered the building. Horsemen then filled the gallery of the capitol building and waited five hours for a vote on the bill, which was ultimately defeated 107-0 and sent back to conference to be reworked.

Most in the Michigan racing industry supports House Bill 4610, which would permit racinos at the tracks, but are against House Bill 4612, which would raise taxes on existing Michigan casinos, thereby raising immediate cash for the state and hurting the chances of House Bill 4610 being passed.

* Freddie Mata is expected to have a cast removed from his left ankle this week and could start accepting mounts at Great Lakes beginning this weekend. Mata was leading the rider standings at Great Lakes when he was injured in a training accident in early June.