08/17/2004 11:00PM

Great Lakes track report


MUSKEGON, Mich. - Freddie Mata returned to the saddle last Saturday, a little more than two months after he broke an ankle in a morning training accident at Great Lakes Downs. He won with his third mount back and went on to win six races for the week, including three on Monday.

Mata's return was delayed when he didn't have a doctor's note on Friday and was taken off his mounts. Then in the first race on Saturday, a rider change was made in his favor but the word was never communicated to the jockeys' room and he sat out the race.

* Racing secretary Allan Plever announced a 10 percent purse increase effective Friday. Simulcast handle on Great Lakes's live racing was up slightly, he said. The minimum purse for winners will now be $6,000, while maidens will run for $5,700.

* Plever also announced a starter allowance series for 3-year-olds and older which have started for $5,500 or less in 2003 or 2004.

The series starts on Sept. 7 with a 1 5/16-mile race worth $11,500. On Sept. 22 there will be a $13,000 race at a 1 3/8 miles. The finale, on Oct. 19, is at 1 1/2 miles with a purse of $14,500.

* Great Lakes Downs will be dark on Labor Day, Sept. 6, and instead will race at 5 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, Sept. 8.