Magna Makes Plans for Detroit Racetrack

Magna Entertainment Corp. Monday unveiled plans for a $100-million racetrack and entertainment project near Detroit International Airport.

The first phase of the project, which would be called Michigan Downs, would include a 1 1/8-mile dirt track, one-mile turf course, and seven-furlong standardbred track. The projects second phase would include a hotel, entertainment complex, and retail center, Magna officials said.

"Our goal is to provide the metro Detroit region with a world-class entertainment facility that reflects Detroit's status as a world-class city," said Don Amos, Magna's chief financial officer.

Magna applied for a license to race near Detroit a year ago. Plans for the project were revealed this week at Great Lakes Downs, which Magna owns. Current state law forbids a company to hold more than one license in the state but legislation has been introduced that would amend the law. Expanded gambling is also being considered by the state legislature.

Amos said if Magna was granted an additional license then Great Lakes Downs, which this year will conduct 118-days of racing from March through November, would host a six-week summer meet next year and Michigan Downs could begin in the fall, the Muskegon Chronicle reports.

If the law isn't changed, Magna would take the license to Detroit and use Muskegon as a training center.

"Every successful business has a farm system in place," Amoss said. "Our plans for (Great Lakes Downs) haven't changed. But we will work within the confines of what the current law permits."